The moneysavingexpert.com founder and Citizens Advice consumer champion has urged people to arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney, explaining how, by planning ahead now, you can save time, money and stress in the long run. Tania Jeffery from JC Solicitors in Chichester and Alton welcomes his appeal.
Speaking on his Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV recently he explained the reasons why, despite being only 42 years old, he already has a Lasting Power of Attorney in place to protect his interests in the event that a sudden accident, illness, disability or his advancing age means that he no longer has the mental capacity to make decisions for himself.
Martin’s appeal coincides with a Ministry of Justice public awareness campaign titled ‘Choice, not Chance’ which highlights the importance of planning for the future. The campaign encourages people to think of what would happen in the event of their death or mental incapacity. It suggests planning now to make a ‘choice’ as to who would look after you and your affairs rather than leaving things to ‘chance.’ The campaign is aimed at 25 – 50 year olds but it is hoped will encourage many more.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents that appoint one or more people whom you trust (your ‘Attorneys’) to look after you and/or your finances should the time come that you cannot do so yourself in the future due to ill health, mental incapacity or physical incapacity. An LPA puts you firmly in control of your affairs. You decide exactly how much authority your Attorney has. There are legal safeguards to make sure that your wishes are carried out and the person acting on your behalf recognises the seriousness of their role.
You can get an LPA drawn up at any time while you have the mental capacity to do so. Having an LPA puts you in control of decisions that may eventually be made on your behalf. So, at a time when you are feeling frail or vulnerable you can rest assured that you have already chosen someone to have a voice for you and make the right decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
Once you have lost mental incapacity, it is too late to make an LPA. Without one your bank accounts and investments (even those held in joint names) will be frozen. Your family will be left having to make an expensive and time-consuming application to the Court of Protection, who will appoint someone to run your affairs. This is costly, undoubtably stressful, and will take time.
At JC Solicitors, in Chichester and Alton, we believe passionately about the value of Lasting Powers of Attorney. We believe that everyone should plan ahead for those times when they need a little help by those whom they trust, by giving them the legal authority to do so now.
People tend to leave or put off this sort of planning until such a time when they are elderly, frail, incapacitated, disabled or vulnerable. Signing legal documents and having to think about things such as your death or future care needs at such a time is extremely overwhelming and can cause sever distress for the person in question. All too often people leave it until it is too late and those they either leave behind or are responsible for their care carry the ultimate burden, stress and expense.
We strongly advise using the service of a legal professional to draft your LPA(s) so that you are fully aware and understand the implications of the LPA and that appropriate restrictions and guidance is put in place. The importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be underestimated for your peace of mind and that of your loved ones to cover any future crisis.
For more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney contact Tania Jeffery at our Chichester office on 01243 850860 or call our Alton office on 01420 544273.