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Powers of Attorney are just as important as a will

Most people are aware of the importance of having a valid will, however, Lasting Powers of Attorney are often overlooked, Lodders’ Care and Capacity specialist, Sofia Tayton, explains.

In July 2017, 38-year-old Bradley Visser suffered severe injuries in an electric skateboard crash. The accident left Mr Visser with extensive brain damage. He was unable to manage his affairs or make informed decisions about his care and medical treatment.

Mr Visser had previously prepared Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) appointing his wife, Annie Visser, as his attorney. Fortunately, Mr Visser had prepared two types of LPA; Property and Financial Affairs, and Health and Welfare.

Mrs Visser was aware of her husband’s wishes and that he would not wish to live with such extensive brain damage. As his attorney, she was able to liaise with the hospital about her husband’s wishes and his ongoing treatment. In line with this, Mr Visser’s life support was withdrawn. This fundamental decision would have been left to medical practitioners if the Health and Welfare LPAs had not been in place.

Decision making

“I genuinely think if I didn’t have this piece of paper, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.” Mrs Visser told the BBC. She continued, “The guilt of having to make a decision with no background knowledge on what that person genuinely wants is actually worse than the end result.”

Mrs Visser wishes to highlight the importance of having LPAs in place, documents she feels are more important than a will.

Appointing attorneys under valid LPAs ensures your wishes take centre stage.  Your attorneys have the legal authority to make decisions for you. This is particularly important not only when managing money, but when making health and welfare decisions about medical treatment, care, and life-sustaining treatment.

Awareness of LPAs

Although more and more people are making wills, the importance of LPAs is often overlooked. Many wrongly assume that their spouse or partner will have an automatic right to make decisions for them. This is not the case. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 has wide-reaching provisions, and sets out how decisions should be taken if the relevant legal authority is not in place.

Discussions about your wishes

As well as appointing people you trust to act in your best interests, you should brief them on your wishes. Guidance provisions in the LPAs, or even a side letter of wishes, could prove invaluable for your attorneys if they need to support you in the future.

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If you’re a journalist looking for more information about Lodders, or to discuss a press release, please contact:
Diane Wood, V Formation on 07887 794507 or by email

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To find out more about wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact Sofia Tayton on 01789 206151 or via email.