When is the best time to make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Article written by Laura Bailey, Solicitor, Private Client department

When a client comes to see me about their Will, I always mention a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to them. For some, they have come across the documents before and already know how valuable they can be, or they are at a stage in their lives where they would like to be able to relax in the knowledge that they have appointed someone to manage their affairs.

Other clients feel it is not relevant for them in their current circumstances. This included a client who came to see me earlier in the year, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr and Mrs S are married and both in their late forties with two nearly adult children. They run a business together and have a good standard of living.

As always, when discussing their Wills, we also touched on LPAs and I suggested it would be a good idea for them to make these, particularly because of their business and because they also have a lot of assets in their sole names. They said they would not make these at the moment, preferring to come back to me when their children can be appointed as their attorneys once they are all over 18.

Tragically, I was telephoned a few months later by Mr S. Mrs S had very sadly suffered a sudden stroke and was in hospital. She was unable to communicate properly and the overall prognosis was far from positive.

Mr S told me that he needed to transfer money held in Mrs S’s bank accounts to help ‘tide the family over’, particularly as the business profits had dwindled as Mr S was at the hospital the majority of the time helping Mrs S.

I had to tell him that it would not be possible to do this without a deputyship order. If an LPA had been in place, appointing Mr S as Mrs S’s attorney, he would have been able to contact the bank in this capacity and transfer the funds on her behalf.

It would be my advice that no one delay making an LPA. They should be viewed like an insurance policy – you very much hope you will not need to use it but it will be invaluable should unexpected circumstances arise.

If you would like any further information, please email lbailey@grantsaw.co.uk or call me on 020 8305 3534.