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Dying Matters Week: Empowering yourself with a lasting power of attorney

By Catrin Lloyd

Published In: Wills and Probate

Dying Matters Week is all about opening up the conversation about death, dying and grief and trying to take away some of the stigma and fear around death. As part of that conversation, we're exploring a crucial aspect often overlooked – the significance of obtaining a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

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Registering an LPA can take up to 20 weeks, so its important to have one when life is blue skies and not wait for the storm to come.

Think of this, your life is humming along smoothly, but then unforeseen circumstances arise whether it’s an illness or an accident, and suddenly you're unable to make decisions for yourself. It's a horrible thought, but one that we must confront. That's where the LPA offers you a means of empowerment.

There are many people who will think, "I'm too young" or "I'll do it later." But in reality, accidents and illnesses don't discriminate based on age or circumstance.

In 2022 there were 900 road traffic accidents a day, whilst the majority of these were probably minor some will have cost someone’s capacity.

  • That’s just traffic accidents, someone has a stroke every five minutes
  • Over 1 million people are living with dementia

These statistics are scary, and most of us like to bury our head in the sand and think it won’t happen to me. But that leaves you gambling with your future and placing an unfair burden on your loved ones.

What does an LPA do?

  1. Protect your interests: If it happened that you can’t make decisions for yourself because of illness or incapacity, having an LPA ensures that someone you trust is authorised to act on your behalf.
  2. Avoids family disputes: Without an LPA, family members may face challenges when trying to do things for you, potentially leading to disputes and delays.
  3. It allows you to maintain control: By appointing your own attorney(s), you retain control over who will manage your affairs, rather than leaving it to chance or the courts.
  4. Plan for the unexpected: None of us can predict if we will get ill or lose capacity. Having an LPA in gives you peace of mind knowing that your affairs are arranged how you want.

How to Create an LPA

  1. Allow plenty of time: It can take up to 20 weeks to register an LPA, so you need to act in plenty of time.  
  2. Choose your attorney(s) wisely: Choose someone you trust implicitly that you know will act in your best interests and follow your wishes.
  3. Complete the necessary forms: This sounds easy but making sure you’ve got everything covered can be daunting. Working with a lasting power of attorney solicitor makes sure you don’t miss anything. You can even name things like how often you want your hair cut, so make sure you consult with an expert who can support you.
  4. Register your LPA: Once the forms are completed and signed, we register them with the Office of the Public Guardian so they can be legally effective when needed.

Addressing Common Concerns

  1. Loss of Control: It can feel like creating an LPA means giving up control. However, an LPA actually gives you control if you do lose it. You can specify restrictions and instructions in the document to ensure your wishes are respected.
  2. Cost: While there may be fees associated with creating and registering an LPA, the benefits far outweigh the costs in terms of peace of mind and avoiding potential legal complications.

An LPA isn't just about safeguarding yourself; it helps your family and friends. Instead of leaving them in limbo, trying to secure a deputyship in the middle of a lot of uncertainty, you're providing them with clarity and direction during a tumultuous time.

Talking about death and losing capacity isn’t fun but by talking openly about it lets us empower ourselves and our loved ones by being prepared. Obtaining a lasting power of attorney isn't just a legal formality, it's a declaration of autonomy and resilience and keeping control when it’s taken from you.

Got questions or want to create a lasting power of attorney? Just give us a ring on 0800 1380 458 or drop us a line at or contact us through the website. Whenever you need us, we're here to help.




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Catrin qualified as a Solicitor in 2005. She is a Director at Switalskis and is Head of our Wills and Probate department.

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