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Myths about a lasting power of attorney

18th May 2017

Myths about a lasting power of attorney

Many people think of a lasting power of attorney as something you make later in life or when mental capacity sets in. However, if you do lose mental capacity, without a lasting power of attorney, your family may have to deal with a long and expensive court process to be able to make decisions on your behalf.

Andrew Willott, wills and probate solicitor at Myers and Co Solicitors in Staffordshire, looks at some of the myths and facts surrounding a lasting power of attorney.

I will no longer be able to make any of my own decisions

This is not the case. By making a conditional lasting power of attorney, you can decide when it comes into effect, and your attorney can only make decisions if you no longer have the capacity to do so yourself.

Only the elderly need a lasting power of attorney

It is important for everyone aged 18 and over to make a lasting power of attorney, as an accident or illness could happen at any time and lead to the loss of mental capacity. Without this in place, you will have no control over who is appointed to look after your interests.

I can wait to make my lasting power of attorney until it is necessary

You do not know when something might happen that could leave you unable to make your own decisions. By making a one now, your interests are protected no matter what the future may hold. Also, by the time you need a lasting power of attorney, it may be too late, as you need to have sufficient mental capacity to make one.

If I have an accident, my next of kin will be able to make decisions about my treatment

Once you are aged 18, your next of kin no longer have the automatic right to act on your behalf. Without a lasting power of attorney in place, you could be in a situation where doctors are considering options for your medical care but your next of kin has no real influence over those decisions.

I have a joint bank account with my spouse so they will be able to manage my affairs

Due to the British Bankers Association guidance, should one of the holders of a joint bank account become mentally incapacitated most banks will refuse the other account holder access to the account unless a lasting power of attorney is in place.

Only family members can be attorneys

You can appoint anyone aged 18 or over to be your attorney, including friends and professional advisors, such as a solicitor or an accountant.

For a confidential discussion about making a lasting power of attorney, contact Andrew Willott at Myers & Co Solicitors in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire on 01782 577000 or email andrew.willott@myerssolicitors.co.uk.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.