Q: Our son is a firefighter and we worry something could happen that would change his life, leaving him dependant on others after we’re gone. We’ve tried to persuade him to make a Will and we also wondered about him setting up a power of attorney, just in case. His view is that at 25, and not even owning a house, we are being ridiculous. Are we?
A: You are not being ridiculous. None of us knows what fate or life holds in store for us. As people get older they usually acquire assets which need to be looked after if they become incapacitated or die. No one is too young to make provision for such events, provided such provisions are updated to reflect changes to circumstances, e.g. inheriting, having children or divorcing.
Quite rightly, most people are advised to make a Will when they purchase their first house. Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) at a young age is probably less common. Anyone over 18 can set up an LPA. It is particularly wise to set up an LPA if you do a potentially dangerous job, such as your son does, which could result in an accident that leaves you incapacitated.
There are two types of LPA. A Health and Welfare LPA covers decisions about your daily care, medical care and treatment and whether it is time to move into a care home. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives someone the authority to manage your property and money, including paying bills and even selling your home. You can choose anyone over eighteen years to be an attorney and you can have as many attorneys as you like, though decision- making and accountability may be difficult with more than two or three. Attorneys may act severally or jointly and severally. A solicitor can talk you through all the options and set up the LPA for you.