From time to time, many of us wonder what would happen if we had a serious illness that called for an extended stay in hospital. Or if circumstances made it impossible for us to make decisions about our personal finances, our business or our health and wellbeing. Covid-19 has brought those issues to the fore and made them very real for a large number of people.
Who would take care of things and make important decisions if you were unable to? The shocking answer, if you haven’t taken the appropriate legal steps, could be nobody. For an owner-managed business that might mean nobody to pay staff wages or suppliers, nobody authorised to access bank accounts or to deal with HMRC.
At an individual level it could mean important bills going unpaid, wealth locked away rather than being used to make your life more comfortable, or medical professionals having to make decisions about your care without anyone close to you being authorised to advise them about your wishes.
Lasting Powers of Attorney Bring Comfort
All of these scenarios can be avoided with a relatively simple legal instrument known as Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s). You can set up separate LPAs to cover your business, personal finances or health and wellbeing. They give people that you nominate the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf while you are unable to do so.
While Covid-19 is the current focus it’s important to remember that every year strokes, heart attacks, dementia and accidents leave many people unable to function normally. LPAs at least give relatives and loved ones the comfort and peace of mind of knowing they can legally make decisions in your best interests and in accordance with your wishes.
To be legally enforceable LPAs have to be properly drawn up, witnessed and registered. The process is fast, straightforward and relatively inexpensive. So, if you have recently wondered what would happen if you were out of action for several weeks or longer, now’s the time to talk to a solicitor about Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Contact PowellsLaw for more information on 01934 623501 or email us here.