A few years ago, my dad was diagnosed with a tumour on his pituitary gland. Thanks to an expert surgeon, it was removed by keyhole surgery. When it came back, it got removed again. Fortunately, it hasn’t returned recently. However, throughout this time I did worry about what I would do if my father couldn’t look after himself. I needed to ask him whether he felt it was time to make a lasting power of attorney (LPA). The only problem was that both of us don’t find it easy to talk about money.
It’s important to talk about LPA
Last month, though, my dad had a biopsy on his prostate. This revealed that there were some cancerous cells. He’s going to have another biopsy and the chances are that the problem is highly treatable. However, I couldn’t put the conversation off any more.
The next time I spoke with my dad on the phone I broached the subject.
“Look, I don’t mind what you do with your money after you die, but if something happens you’re going to need someone to manage your affairs. My advice would be to make a lasting power of attorney. If you choose me, then I’d of course be honoured. But be sure to choose someone to have lasting power of attorney as it’ll make sure your finances are taken care of and you’ll get the care you need.”
He was very open to the idea. A few days later he talked to his sister, who also said it was a good idea to make an LPA. So he rang me back and he’s now promised to get advice and get an LPA set up.
What is a lasting power of attorney?
We’ve already written a good deal of guidance on lasting power of attorney. You can learn more from these blog posts:
- Lasting power of attorney – why is it so vital?
- Lasting power of attorney – what is it for?
- Lasting power of attorney – without it all could be lost?
- Powers of attorney and pensions – a good couple
However, in a nutshell, a lasting power of attorney is a legal tool that enables you to appoint a trusted person, known as an attorney, to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you lose mental capacity.
There are two types of LPAs: Property and Financial Affairs LPAs and Health and Welfare LPAs. The former grants your attorney the authority to manage your financial matters, including banking, property, and investments, while the latter empowers them to make decisions related to your health and personal welfare.
How do I make a lasting power of attorney?
In order to make a lasting power of attorney, you need to follow this process:
- Choose an attorney(s). This will usually be a family member or close friend, but it could be a professional.
- Seek professional advice. While not mandatory, professional advice can help ensure the process is carried out correctly. It will give you peace of mind and help avoid potential problems later.
- Complete the relevant forms. You can either fill in paper forms or make a lasting power of attorney online. You can also get a professional, such as a THP accountant, to fill them in for you.
- Register the LPA. Once the forms are completed, signed, and witnessed correctly, you need to register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. (OPG). There is a registration fee involved, and the process can take several weeks.
People’s circumstances may change over time. For this reason, periodically review your LPA to ensure it aligns with your current wishes and circumstances. If necessary, make amendments by completing a new form and revoking the old one.
Can THP help me make a lasting power of attorney?
Yes, our lasting power of attorney service can help you set up both Property and Financial Affairs LPAs and Health and Welfare LPAs. We can also act as an independent attorney if you wish.
However, before you do that, make sure you have a conversation about LPAs with your loved ones. I was surprised by how easy it was to bring the subject up with my dad. All I have to do now is nag him at regular intervals so he gets an LPA set up!
About Ben Locker
Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.