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Many people don’t really like to consider what would happen if they become incapacitated in some way. Who will look after their affairs? What will happen to their most important assets? While making a will is something that every individual should do, so is creating a lasting power of attorney or LPA. 
 
What is Lasting Power of Attorney? 
 
It’s essentially a legal document that lets you choose someone you trust to handle your affairs and make decisions for you should you not be able to do so. They’re often seen as a safety net for people who are worried about getting a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. LPAs aren’t just for the elderly either. In fact, they work for everyone. You might be in a car accident, for instance, and need someone to run your affairs, and that can happen at any age. 
 
Three Good Reasons to Have a LPA 
 
While most of us don’t want to imagine a day when we are unable to make our own decisions, it does make sense to plan for it. First of all, an LPA allows you to choose someone you trust to handle your affairs, rather than someone you don’t know who is elected by the courts. In a sense, that gives you more control because this individual will more likely act in your best interests. On the other side, having a LPA makes it a lot easier for your relatives and they don’t need to go through complex legal processes to do the right thing by you. Thirdly, decisions made through an LPA are more likely to reflect what you would want if you were able to make these by yourself. 
 
The person acting as your attorney also needs to act in your best interests and in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. There are reasonable checks and balances in place and, if there are any concerns, a complaint can be made to the Office of the Public Guardian which can then investigate any potential wrongdoing. 
 
Types of Lasting Power of Attorney 
 
There are two different types of LPA. 
 
The first is the health and welfare LPA which gives your attorney the power to make decisions about things like your health choices, what medicine you have and whether you go to a care home or not. This can only be implemented when you are mentally unable to make your own decisions. 
 
The other LPA is one that gives the attorney control over your financial and property decisions. This could include managing your bank account, paying bills or selling your home. You don’t have to be incapacitated to implement this LPA, all it needs is your permission. You can also dictate the criteria and change these if you become able to handle your own affairs again. 
 
Insurance Against Life Changing Events 
 
There may be several reasons why you should put in place a lasting power of attorney but the main one is the potential for a life changing event. This can obviously happen to anyone at any time but it does mean that you have in place the legal structure that makes everything easier for your family. 
 
If you would like to find out more about LPAs and how they can benefit you, contact the team at DSM Legal today. 
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