The thing with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is that often when you need it, it’s already too late to register it.
You’ll see some sites (including the government’s Gov.uk information portal) refer separately to ‘making’ and ‘registering’ an LPA, but basically unless it’s registered, it’s worthless.
The important point is, you need to register your LPA when you are still legally capable of making such a decision in your own right – even though an LPA can be designed to give somebody else such decision-making powers.
As such, you might want to consider registering an LPA if:
- You have a diagnosed degenerative cognitive condition or a history of such in your family.
- You have strong opinions about how you would want to live following a brain injury or stroke.
- You are approaching old age and want to name an individual to look after your finances.
In short, an LPA gives control of your money, your assets or your decisions to a named representative, who can then act on your behalf (and usually in your best interests).
As soon as it’s been written and registered, it can be invoked, or you can set certain circumstances in which it will come into effect.
You can also revoke an LPA later if you are still mentally capable, so until it is brought into effect, it shouldn’t feel like you’ve handed over your decision-making powers for life.
Ultimately an LPA means somebody you trust will be able to handle your money, property, and decisions about your health, medical treatment, welfare and so on, if you are not mentally capable to do so yourself.
So if you have a large estate and don’t want any doubt over who can sell it off on your behalf; your children don’t get on with each other and you don’t want them sharing the responsibility; or you simply want to decide who’s in charge of what happens to you in your twilight years; an LPA is the legally binding document that can make sure your views are expressed in writing, and respected under the laws of the land.