Most people are aware of the importance of making a Will, to make sure that their estate is paid out according to their wishes. However, many people forget the importance of making a Lasting Power of Attorney, in addition to their Will, to ease any potential burden on their families.
This is partly due to the fact that we don’t like to think about, or discuss, what would happen if we, or a close family member, lost capacity.
There is a common misconception that, if you lose capacity, your family or your spouse can automatically take over the reins, access your money and even pay for your care. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to be the case, as your assets may be frozen, even if you have joint accounts, unless the proper paperwork is in place.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to nominate a trusted friend or family member to look after your affairs.
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is in some ways like taking out an insurance policy. It is a one off transaction. You hope that you will never need to use it, but should you need to, you have the peace of mind of knowing that the correct paperwork is in place.
Sadly, mental or physical incapacity can strike at any time, and so I recommend that you have a Lasting Power of Attorney drawn up by a specialist solicitor.
Linda Dack is a Solicitor and the Head of the Private Client Department at Watkins & Gunn. She is an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly, who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.