Lasting Power of Attorney
MAKE A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY - BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
What happens when someone is no longer capable of handling or managing their affairs? No one likes to think about losing the ability to manage their own affairs, but approximately 820,000 people in this country have some form of dementia. Many others suffer from strokes, brain injuries or have mental health problems. There are many things that can impact on someone’s abilities to look after their affairs - regardless of age.
NOMINATE SOMEONE YOU TRUST - NOW
It is important that you nominate someone you trust now to make important decisions on your behalf in the future. This means appointing an Attorney to act for you. This must be put in place while you are still able to make decisions for yourself.
It is a common misconception that, in the absence of a Power of Attorney, your partner or a close family member (next of kin) can make decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so. This is not the case.
In order for your loved ones to be able to act and make decisions on your behalf, they need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) if you have executed one of these documents prior to 1 October 2007.
CAN JOINT BANK ACCOUNTS STILL BE USED?
Most banks will freeze joint-bank accounts if one of the account holders becomes incapable of managing his/her affairs unless there is a registered LPA (or EPA) in existence. This is a very common source of immediate difficulty leaving your partner or family unable to pay the household bills and can lead to leaving you and your family in debt.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO PROTECT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?
The answer is to have a properly drafted LPA naming a person or persons who will act on your behalf or make decisions for you if and when you cannot make them for yourself. The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to choose a person you trust to make decisions for you about how to deal with your money and investments and also to manage your property and other affairs. Once registered, and unless you have put a restriction on it, this type of LPA can be used by your attorney straight away.
The Health and Welfare LPA allows you to choose someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf relating to your personal healthcare and welfare including decisions to give or refuse consent for medical treatment on your behalf and deciding where you live. These decisions can only be taken on your behalf once the LPA has been registered and when you are no longer capable of making the necessary decisions for yourself.
WHO CAN TAKE OUT AN LPA?
An LPA can be made by anyone aged 18 or over who has the mental capability to do so, but it can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU NO LONGER HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO MAKE AN LPA?
If you are no longer capable of looking after your own affairs and you have not completed a Lasting Power of Attorney, the Court of Protection will appoint a Deputy to manage your affairs for you. To achieve this, there will be significant legal fees to pay, annual supervision fees of up to £800, application fees, doctor’s certification fees, a security bond, a deputy fee and a long delay before the Deputy Order is issued and even then the Deputy appointed may not always be aware of your personal circumstances.
This could apply to anyone, at any age, by reason of illness, disability or mental impairment who may no longer be able to deal with simple matters like handling a bank or building society account or more complex activities like claiming benefits, handling tax affairs or transacting a house sale.
In these circumstances, just the delays alone can create chaos when, in all probability, urgent decisions have to be made or sums of money paid out for your care, for example.
It is always better to put an LPA in place rather than leaving matters to be resolved by pursuing the Deputy route which is cumbersome, slow and expensive. Call us now to arrange a meeting to discuss your needs.
Our Services Menu
The information provided here is intended to address the types of questions that people are often concerned about.
To see an outline of what we do and how we deliver services for our clients, please visit the Our Services page. You will find information on the key aspects of creating your will including:
Personal Reviews, Will Writing, Estate Planning & Tax Management, Lasting Power of Attorney, Discretionary Trusts, Special Provisions & Assurance (disabled beneficiaries), Severance of Tenancy, Secure Document Storage.
If you have a specific question, want more detailed information or want your will professionally prepared, then please just get in touch.