Power of Attorney

Why getting a Lasting Power of Attorney is a GOOD IDEA

I know, I know… another boring leaflet about getting something you hope you’ll never need…


Making a Lasting Power of Attorney (we call it an LPA) is often an afterthought once you’ve decided to make a Will.  It’s about what will happen if you’ve reached the stage where you can’t make decisions for yourself and nobody wants to consider that.  In fact, even thinking about it probably brings on disaster and calamity.  

But actually, life has an awful of habit of knocking you off your feet when you least expect it.  We don’t have a crystal ball so we can’t predict your future but we can help you prepare for worst-case-scenarios.  

It’s a bit like an insurance policy.  We should all have one but everybody hopes we never have to use them.

An LPA is a legal document allowing trusted people to make decisions on your behalf.  They get called an attorney and, when you can’t, they make decisions about your health and welfare or managing your property and finances.  Don’t bother trying to anticipate all the decisions that you might need them to make – it’s impossible to cover every eventuality.  You can work out the important categories and rely on the lawyers ensure your attorneys can deal with them.


The first important category relates to your personal welfare.  It only takes effect when you no longer have capacity to make decisions for yourself regarding your own health and welfare.  This is really important stuff!  It includes where you should live, your day to day care and whether you should receive life sustaining treatment.  

The second category is all about your property and financial affairs.  This includes decisions about buying and selling property, looking after your bank accounts, claiming benefits and managing your tax affairs.   Perhaps it would simply be easier if somebody else did all that for you because you find it difficult to get out and about these days.   It will be most useful to your friends and family if you lose mental capacity to manage your own affairs.

If you have an LPA, you are able to make sure that decisions about your welfare or finances are made by people you trust.  Not everybody is able to decide how you would like things done.  

If you haven’t made an LPA, and something dreadful happens like an accident, an illness or whatever… no LPA means no trust in the people making your decisions.  All the decisions regarding your life will be made by the Court of Protection.  This will be hugely expensive, very intrusive and controlling.  

Aside from the fact that the court staff will have no idea of your likes, dislikes, values or beliefs, consider:

1. It takes much longer to deal with the Court of Protection than an LPA.  In the meantime, your friends and family will be unable to claim benefits for you, pay your bills or prevent medical treatment that they know full well you wouldn’t want.

2. The people that apply the rules in the Court of Protection are aliens and robots who have no idea of how you would feel about their decisions.

3. It’s no good waiting until you feel a bit iffy or have a funny turn.  Nobody plans to lose their capacity to make their own decisions – it can land on you with a wallop, out of the blue, at any age.  And then it’s too late.  Your family are unable to automatically step in and deal with your affairs or make decisions on your behalf and would have to seek help from the Court of Protection with all the officialdom and rigmarole that would entail.

Getting your LPA Written and Checked

This is a three step process:

Step One – Think about who you would trust to make decisions on your behalf

Step Two – Write down in your own words the sort of decisions you want them to make for you, when you’re unable to make those decisions yourself.  For example, do you want them to deal with your money or are you more concerned about your medical treatment?

Step three – Give it to me for my input.

Step three is important.  If you try writing the LPA yourself, you can easily avoid the pitfalls you know about.  But there are likely to be a few pitfalls you don’t know about!  Plus I might have a list of options that hadn’t occurred to you.

The letter to me does not give anybody power to act on your behalf.  There are prescribed forms to be use, rules about signatures and who will check that you’re not being pushed into appointing attorneys you don’t really want.  I will prepare all this for you including all the herinafters and the heretofores.  I’m not just paid to avoid pitfalls and make things convenient for you but to know the long words too.

The best bit for you is having the smug feeling of knowing that you’re secure in having the right people make decisions on your behalf when you need them to.  The best bit for your friends and family is that it is substantially easier and cheaper to help you when you need them.