Lasting Power of Attorney Between Husband and Wife
Posted on 9th January 2021 at 11:09
As we grow older, our thoughts naturally turn to important things like making a Will and preparing for the future. We don’t know exactly when or even if our health might fail or what challenges we are likely to face in our later years, such as the possibility of becoming physically immobile or unable to communicate our wishes. That’s why it’s so important to prepared in advance.
One area that married couples often fail to address is what happens when one or other partner is unable to manage their own affairs, either through illness or some other incapacity. This is particularly important when it comes to financial and health choices.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA. This kind of legal document is designed to give you support and complete peace of mind for the future.
What is Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA between husband and wife is a legal document that basically gives one partner the ability to make decisions on behalf the other. There are a number of situations where this is a useful safeguard to have in place, especially as we grow older.
What happens, for instance, if you develop Alzheimer’s and are unable to make critical decisions because your mental capacity has deteriorated?
What happens if you have an accident that temporarily or permanently incapacitates you or you have an illness that affects your ability to make certain life choices?
Most people think that when a situation like this happens, the decision automatically passes to the wife or husband or some other close relative. The next of kin has no automatic right to manage their affairs in the absence of a Lasting Power of Attorney. In the absence of an LPA your loved ones may have to make an application to the Court of Protection in order to have the legal right to make decisions on your behalf. This can be a lengthy and expensive process.
A Lasting Power of Attorney enables you ‘the donor’ to nominate an ‘attorney’ or individual who is able to act on your behalf if you are unable to make decisions. This attorney can either be your spouse, another relative or someone you trust.
While you are incapacitated, they can make sure your affairs are run properly or you receive health care in accordance with your wishes.
Types of Lasting Power of Attorney
There are two different types of LPA and they both have their uses when it comes to protecting the individual should the worse happen.
The first is an LPA for property and financial affairs. This gives your nominated attorney your permission to make decisions and act on your behalf in relation to your finances and your home. For example, they can make withdrawals from and payments to your bank account, pay bills and handle your expenses.
You can stipulate in your LPA the extent to which an individual is able to have control over your affairs and the agreement can be removed if you recover. For example, if you have an accident that incapacitates you for a while, the LPA can be invoked until such point that you are able to take over again. You don’t have to be mentally incapacitated for this particular type of LPA to take effect.
The second LPA is for your health and welfare and the decisions that surround the management of this. It is used for when you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
For example, if you are in the later stages of dementia, the LPA allows your loved one to make decisions on your behalf, such as your living arrangements, medical care, your daily routine and what end of life treatment you wish to be put in place.
However, it is important to ensure that the decision to create a Lasting Power of Attorney is taken before you become ill or have an accident as you may then not have the mental capacity to enter into an LPA and nobody else can do this for you.
Things to Consider When Setting Up a Lasting Power of Attorney
As with any legal document, you need to think long and hard about what you want your LPA to achieve. It’s important to sit down and discuss what your expectations are and then contact a local solicitor to work through the wording of your document.
Many people, for instance, are concerned about what will happen when they lose capacity to make decisions later in life. This might include a real worry that they will be a burden on their loved one if they have a condition such as dementia. They might have specific wishes they want honoured particularly when it comes to end of life care.
How Much Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Cost?
Most solicitors will offer a fixed fee for setting up an LPA depending on what the requirements are. All LPAs need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian which requires a standard fee of £82. Legal fees will depend on whether you need a home visit, what type of LPA you are setting up, whether you require signatures to be witnessed by us, and providing additional certified copies of the agreement.
How DSM Legal Can Help
It’s important to work with a qualified solicitor local solicitor if you are setting up a lasting power of attorney. Whilst you can do it yourself an LPA is a very important and powerful legal document. It is crucial that you don’t get it wrong.
There are also on-line services available. These providers will send out LPA’s in the post for you to arrange the signing and witnessing yourself, before you then return the LPA’s to them This can present a number of difficulties but least of all the additional delay and impracticalities of finding appropriate independent witnesses and a certificate provider.
At DSM Legal we have a lot of experience setting up LPAs for husbands and wives who want to make sure they have the support they need when the time comes when one or other is unable to make decisions for themselves.
We’ll talk you through the issues and help you decide what you want to include in your LPA. We have fixed fees for all LPA’s so you know what you’ll be paying and there are no hidden costs. We also provide a discount if you take both financial and property and health and wellbeing LPAs out at the same time.
We are a local Warrington firm who are members of the Law Society and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Diane Massey is also a STEP member (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners). We’ve helped many people set up LPAs to protect and support them for the future. You’ll be in good hands and we’ll make sure that your LPA document meets your needs and gives you complete peace of mind.
If you have been considering setting up a lasting power of attorney between husband and wife and need to sit down with an experienced solicitor, contact us on 01925 937070 for free initial advice.
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