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Who should you appoint as your attorney?

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If a stranger walked up to you and asked to take control of your healthcare and finances, what would you say?
 
We’d assume you’d say, “No.” After all, why would you let someone you don’t know take charge of your life?
 
But if you lose mental capacity before creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, you could face a similar scenario.
 
An LPA is a legal document that gives a person or people of your choice the power to make decisions on your behalf once you’re unable to. There are two types of LPA, one for health and welfare and the other for property and financial affairs, although the latter can be appointed to take control at any time (for example if you became immobile or frail).
 
It’s a common misconception that if you lose mental capacity, perhaps through age-related dementia or an accident, your family can step in and make the decisions you’re no longer able to. However, without being appointed as your attorney, they can’t.
 
They have no legal control over your finances, healthcare, the clothes you wear or even the food you eat. Even if you’re married or in a civil partnership.
 
If you share a bank account with your spouse, partner, a family member or friend, for example, once the bank becomes aware you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions alone, they’ll freeze your assets. That also includes blocking the other person’s access.
 
And if you’re putting things off, thinking it may not happen to you, don’t. You can only create an LPA when you’re of sound mind. If you lose mental capacity, it’s too late.
 

Who to appoint

 
Deciding on who to appoint as your attorney is not a decision to be taken lightly.
 
The ideal candidate should be someone you trust implicitly. It’s also advised that whoever you choose is also aware of your wishes and, if needs be, gets along with anyone else you decide to appoint.
 
If, for example, you have two children who don’t typically get along, granting them both with lasting power of attorney may cause disputes which otherwise could have been avoided.
 
It’s also crucial the person or people you appoint are happy and willing to do it.
 

How do I take out a Lasting Power of Attorney?

 
Taking out an LPA on your own can leave room for error.
 
For instance, do you know the difference between appointing your attorneys to act jointly, or jointly and severally? Or do you know how to make your attorney’s instructions legally correct?
 
With Key’s estate planning service, you are assured that an expert will be working on your behalf. We’ve already helped more than 60,000 people arrange their Wills and LPAs1.
 
You can complete the entire process over the phone, meaning you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home. And, when you speak to one of our advisers, there’s no pressure to proceed.
 
If you would like to get in touch with us, request a free call back here.
 
Alternatively, to learn more about LPAs, request your free guide here.
 
1 www.keyadvice.co.uk/wills-lpa/how-to-make-a-will-lpa
 

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