Estate Planning / News

Covering all bases – the importance of a Health and Wellbeing LPA

Many of us have planned for a time when we might not be able to manage our finances ourselves. But what about the other aspects of our lives? Steve Wright, our Estates Director, explains why it’s important to consider more than just money.

In recent years Lasting Powers of Attorney have become more widely used for those keen to ensure their estate plans are in good order. Yet although 3.85 million people have established a Lasting Power of Attorney in the last three years, many more have still to do so.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document, recognised by the courts, which allows you to nominate someone to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. There are two forms of LPA – one which covers property and finance, and another for health and welfare matters. Many of our clients are willing to establish an LPA to cover their finances, and we have seen a rise in the popularity of these tools, particularly in the last year when the pandemic has prompted many of us to take a look at our own affairs.

However it’s important to consider your health and welfare situation too, and set up a suitable LPA to protect you in this area. Establishing a Health and Welfare LPA will mean that a specified friend or family member can help if an accident or ill health mean you are incapacitated for any length of time, and need support in decisions about your healthcare.

Sadly, a recent example explains all too well why a Health and Welfare LPA is an important consideration. Late last year a daughter in Yorkshire attempted to remove her 97 year old mother from a nursing home, with a wish to care for her at home. This followed a period where the two had been unable to see one another for more than nine months because of the pandemic. Although a Property and Financial LPA was in place, there wasn’t an LPA for health and welfare to cover the daughter’s decision and subsequent actions. This created an unfortunate situation in which the mother was returned to the care home by the police, and her daughter arrested, as she had no authority to act in this way.

This type of situation highlights the need, more than ever, to ensure both types of LPAs are in place to ensure peace of mind that every aspect of your life can be looked after, if necessary. To discuss setting up an LPA, or any other estate planning matter, please get in touch.