A lasting power of attorney is a great way to give yourself peace of mind for the future, just like making a will. Here, we'll look at the main benefits and how you can get yours from the comfort of home.
What's a lasting power of attorney?
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you choose people you trust to act on your behalf. If anything happens in the future that means you can’t make important decisions, they’ll be able to act with your best interests at heart.
There are two different types of lasting power of attorney:
Financial – this covers decisions about your home and how your money is managed
Health and wellbeing – this covers decisions about your health, lifestyle and medical treatments
What's the difference between a will and a lasting power of attorney?
Your will sets out what you want to happen to your accounts and property after you die, and it also appoints executors to take responsibility for those things for you.
A lasting power of attorney sets out the instructions you want people to follow while you’re still alive, in case you can’t make decisions for yourself. These people are called your “attorneys”.
Who can you choose as your attorneys?
Your attorneys should be people over 18 who you trust to act in your best interests, such as:
Your partner, wife or husband
Your child, if they’re over 18
Your sister or brother
You can choose up to four attorneys if you wish, but most people appoint two along with a couple of backups. You can also choose different people to look after your health and finances, which can be helpful if you think these decisions are better-suited to particular people.
What happens if you don't make a lasting power of attorney?
If you have an accident or illness that means you can’t look after your affairs anymore, your next of kin can’t automatically make decisions for you unless you have a lasting power of attorney.
If your family wanted to act on your behalf without one, they’d need to apply to become a deputy, which is a long and expensive legal process that can cost over £800.
What to include in a lasting power of attorney
Your lasting power of attorney should include legal instructions about your health and finances, such as:
My attorneys must not sell my home unless, in my doctor’s opinion, I can’t live independently anymore
My attorneys must continue donating to charities I’ve supported or have a standing order with
It can also include some non-legal guidance for your attorneys. These are designed to help them make decisions for you, and can include things like:
I’d like my attorneys to speak to my doctor if they think I can no longer make decisions about my home
I’d like to spend time outdoors at least once a day
When to make a lasting power of attorney
It’s never too early to protect your future, so you should make a lasting power of attorney as soon as you know what instructions you’d like your family to follow. For most people, this is a natural next step after making a will. Please note: at the moment, we are not currently offering a power of attorney service at Farewill.
If you have an accident or illness that means you can't look after your affairs anymore, your family can't automatically make decisions for you
Without a lasting power of attorney, your family would need to apply to become a deputy, which is a long and expensive process that can cost over £800
Your lasting power of attorney should include legal instructions you want your attorneys to follow, along with some non-legal guidance to help them make decisions for you