The Importance of LPA’s for Couples

By July 15, 2020Wills and Probate

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s) allow you to appoint people you trust to act as your Attorneys so that they can assist you in managing your assets, and/or help with your health care decisions should you lose capacity. There are two types of LPA: one for Finance & Property; and one for Health & Welfare. 

However, many people incorrectly assume that if they are married or in a civil partnership that they will not require LPA’s as their spouse or civil partner will automatically have the right to deal with their assets and liabilities should they not be able to themselves.  Here we will explain why this is not always the case and highlight the limitations your partner may experience when there is no LPA in place.

Finances 

Nobody has authority to deal with your finances, such as your bank accounts, properties and pensions, other than you.  Therefore if you were to become unwell and need to go into hospital or care, your partner will not have the authority to automatically be able to help you manage your finances but instead may need to go down a long and lengthy process to obtain a court order.   As a separate court order is required for each action they wish to help you with, not having an LPA in place can therefore result in a time consuming and costly ordeal for those closest to you. 

Whilst this may be somewhat expected for sole assets, what many people do not realise is that losing capacity without having an LPA in place can also affect joint assets.  Although your partner may have authority to manage your accounts in which they are a joint account holder whilst you both have capacity, once a bank has been notified that you have lost capacity they may sometimes freeze the account until they are presented with an LPA on your behalf.

Health

It is also often mistakenly assumed that your partner will have the right to make health care decisions on your behalf as they are your next of kin.  However, whilst doctors are likely to consult with your next of kin, they do not have any authority or right to make health care decisions on your behalf and all decisions will therefore ultimately be at the discretion of your doctors.  Because of this, it can often be a very distressing experience for those closest to you where matters such as life sustaining treatment arise, as your next of kin may have differing opinions to that of the medical professional, but it is the opinion of the doctors that will override where there is no LPA in place.

If you would like more information on LPA’s please see our website via the following link: https://www.astonbond.co.uk/lpa-info/ .  Alternatively if you would like to book an appointment for a free initial consultation with one of our solicitors to discuss LPA’s further then please do not hesitate to contact Jade Gani (jgani@astonbond.co.uk) or Rachel Jones (rjones@astonbond.co.uk).