20 Dec

If you are a joint account holder, and the other joint account holder loses mental capacity, you do not automatically have the right to access the account unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Attorney or an order from the Court of Protection.

Click here to visit the website of the British Bankers' Association

In the busy world that you live in it is sometimes difficult to find the time to address certain issues that really do make a difference. In the event of incapacity one of what I consider to be the 3 Must Haves is the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Everyone should have one, just like a Will.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (successor to the old Enduring Power of Attorney) gives people you trust the authority to deal with your affairs in the event that you are not able to do so. There are two types of LPA. A Property and Financial LPA gives your Attorneys authority to deal with such matters as your home, your bank accounts and your investments. A Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorneys to deal with more pastoral issues such as your daily requirements and wellbeing.

You may think that similar to a Will a LPA is only for the old and doddery but this is far from the case. Yes, it is definitely a requirement for the elderly but is a must have for everyone other than the very young. If, unfortunately, you end up in a position where you are not able to manage your affairs, for example, having suffered a stroke and you do not have a LPA in place, your family will need to apply to the Court of Protection to make decisions on your behalf, a process that is time consuming and expensive. If you are a business owner who will be entitled to run your business in your absence? No one. Unless you have given your Attorneys authority to do so.

When your Lasting Power of Attorney has been completed it needs to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before your Attorneys can act on your behalf. You will then know that it will be accepted when the time comes for it to be used. And it should last your lifetime!