‘Surely we’re too young for LPA?
Lasting powers attorney are for old people. ‘

I learnt the concept of separation of powers, in a civics class some four decades ago. A young couple in the past month asked about the use of the power of attorney documents regarding guardianship in the event they were incapacitated. They remind me of a conversation I overheard earlier that day, the jist of which, if you’re old enough to be a parent, then you aren’t too young for an LPA.

Too Young for LPA: The Guardians

Care of the minor children is in the bailiwick of the guardian. If a parent couldn’t look after their child, the family would need such care. Death is the ultimate reason the parent couldn’t care for a child – but if I gave you a minute, you’d come up another half a dozen reasons. The spirit and letter of a properly drafted guardianship clause allow and facilitate a smooth a handover to the guardians.

Formally, the will is the last will and testament. We’ll leave the reason it’s do described for another write-up. It’s an oft overlooked fact, but the will combines two documents. We often overlook the implied guardianship order.
In short, the ‘testament’ part of the document deals with non-material things in the testator’s life.
When a couple have minor children, the ‘conditional’ appointment of guardians for children features in the will – it is conditional upon the death of the testator.

In the event, short of death, a parent were unable to care for their child, especially regarding financial provision, the attorney for property and financial affairs might be called upon to fulfil their duties.

In such matters, where possible, the purse should be separated from the cause. This separation is an exercise in oversight.

Too Young for LPA: Separating the Powers

Back to my civics class. I’m reminded of the doctrine of checks and balances. Put another way, the principle of cleaving the cash from the child is the reason schools have bursars, companies have finance managers and all but the smallest organisations have auditors.

Back to the original question – if the parents of minor children became incapacitated, the will on the one hand and the lasting power of attorney on the other would work hand in glove. In summary if you’re old enough to have children, you couldn’t be too young for LPA.

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