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TV’s Martin Lewis urges people to use Lasting Powers of Attorney

Television personal finance expert Martin Lewis has urged people to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). He stressed that they provided crucial protection, not just for the elderly but for the young as well.

Mr Lewis told viewers on his ITV show: “This is really important. A power of attorney is more important than a will.

“A will decides what happens to your assets if you die; a power of attorney decides what happens to your assets if you lose your faculties and you have family that you need to look after but you are no longer capable of doing so yourself.

“An LPA is where you nominate a friend or relative to take over your finances if you lose your faculties. Doing it does not mean you give up control now. There are safeguards in place, and don’t think this is just for the elderly. People can have accidents, strokes, early onset dementia.”

“Most couples these days have separate finances. Ask yourself, are your finances such that only you can access them. If so, if one partner loses their faculties and the other partner could not access their finances, the consequences could be terrible for both.

“Everyone should have an LPA. I’ve had one for 10 years and I have no foreseeability of losing my faculties.”

An LPA is a legal document that you can draw up when you are fit and healthy, authorising someone you choose to make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so yourself at some point in the future.

The person drawing up the LPA is known as the donor and the person being authorised to make decisions is referred to as the attorney.

The property and finance LPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs, and the personal welfare LPA lets you grant an attorney authority over such matters as health care and the kind of treatment you receive.

Both kinds of LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which administers the system.

They are easy to set up with the help of an expert solicitor and once registered, they provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if anything untoward should happen to impair your decision making, your interests will be looked after by someone you trust.

It’s little wonder therefore that the number of registered LPAs has increased enormously in recent years to more than 4 million.

Please contact us if you would like more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney.