Estate Planning

Don’t leave it too late to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

An LPA is one of the most effective documents you can set up when you’re Estate planning. But for many people setting up an LPA can come too late, particularly given the current delays being experienced in the registration process. Steve Wright, our Estates Director, explains why it’s important to get your LPA in place well before you might need it.

Alongside a Will an LPA, is one of the most important Estate planning tools you can put in place. It helps ensure that your financial affairs, or decisions about your health and welfare, are properly managed if you become unable to look after things yourself due to ill health, an injury or other reasons. Simply, it allows you to nominate someone you trust as your attorney, to act in your best interests if you become incapacitated.

It almost goes without saying that one of the most important elements in the whole process is making sure these important documents are in place well before you think you might need them. You’ll need to draw up an LPA whilst you’re of sound mind and ensure that it’s registered and ready to call on in the unfortunate event that you need someone to take charge of your affairs.

The registration of LPAs has become particularly relevant now, with the recent news that it’s taking, on average, 81 days for an LPA to be registered. In some situations, that delay might lead to exacerbating an already distressing position for your family. Failing to have an LPA could mean a lengthy and expensive process, in which your family will have to apply to the Courts for the right to manage things on your behalf. In the interim there are likely to be the inevitable issues with the day-to-day management of your finances given most banks won’t grant access to anyone without the proper authorisation. It could also impact decisions about your welfare or medical care.

The current delays are being attributed to the number of LPAs which have been written in the past couple of years, prompted in part by the pandemic. But even in the best scenarios, the registration process for LPAs has a 40-day target. This is to allow for the obvious checks which need to take place, and because there is a statutory period of four weeks built in for any objections to be lodged.

So, to ensure that your affairs will be properly managed, and that you are the one deciding who to appoint to handle things on your behalf, it’s vital to look at setting up your own LPAs.

To discuss any aspect of your Estate plans, please contact your nearest office.