None of us know what the future holds concerning our health and capacity to make decisions. Capacity can change overnight or can creep up on us. Anyone can and should have both types of LPA as an insurance policy: one hopes one never has need of it but it is invaluable to any individual who finds themselves in need of the help they offer.
Often when making a will a legal advisor will suggest looking at making LPAs whatever your age and stage of life.
It is impossible to tell when capacity may fail. There are many reasons for this: young onset dementia, serious illness to the brain, head injury, unanticipated consequences of surgery, etc.
It is therefore never too young to consider making LPAs. This ensures that, should anything happen, there is someone who can make decisions on your behalf, access money for you, pay bills and generally ensure the smooth running of your affairs, and if necessary make important decisions about your future care and where this might be delivered, etc.
Often people leave it until they are much older when they see themselves struggling with managing finances and making decisions for themselves. Often this might be combined with a terminal or life-limiting diagnosis or dementia.
This can lead to problems.
This might lead to a requirement of obtaining a certificate of legal capacity to make the LPA and can sometimes lead to challenges to the validity of the power. All of this causes increased delays, increased costs and increased stress. Also, if mental capacity or health is failing, due to the time delays in registering the powers and the inability to use an unregistered power, sometimes this in itself, even if there are no challenges or disagreements, can cause huge problems.
- Some people may realise they are not very good at making decisions and seek the support of other trusted people to help them in this
- Others know they are going to have major surgery and are likely to be out of action for some time as they recover so might need an Attorney to help them
- Might be out of the country for an extended period and want to have others on hand to make suitable decisions and take necessary action on their behalf.
Whatever your reasons, LPAs are a really good idea provided that you know and trust the individual/s you appoint and make sure the powers given are suitable for them to act in your best interests.