A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to plan for the future and choose people you know and trust to make decisions for you if you were to lose capacity. They allow to you choose people to manage your affairs that you know will make the same decisions that you would make for yourself. More importantly it means that the Court does not appoint someone you don’t know, and who does know you or your wishes.
You may be concerned about losing capacity later in life, as were all living longer, but capacity can also be lost as a result of an accident or illness; there are over one million stroke survivors in the UK today.
1. Property & Financial Affairs:
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions about property and financial matters on your behalf. In the main this will relate to day-to-day activities collecting in pensions, benefits and income and paying regular bills etc. You can specify when it comes into force and what powers your attorneys have.
2. Health and Welfare:
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions about health and welfare matters on your behalf. However, because the decisions being made are about personal matters the Mental Capacity Act says you must make these decisions for yourself as long as you able to and your attorneys can only act if you have lost capacity.
Making an LPA enables you to appoint others to manage your affairs on your behalf if you are unable to. When you lose capacity and do not have an LPA registered a number of things can happen including:
1. Complete Loss of Control
A person will be appointed by judge to deal with your affairs instead of someone you would have wanted. This will often be a retired solicitor or court official and your family would have to deal with this person every time a decision is needed. On top of this stress, they cannot have any official say and therefore effect on medical treatment decisions.
To ensure your family is able to take full control, make sure you have registered both Lasting Powers of Attorney.
2. Huge Costs
You’re bank accounts will be subsequently frozen, so someone will have to pay on your behalf. The cost is between £2,500 – £3,000.
The time for processing will take between 9 months to a year during which your accounts are frozen meaning bills cannot be paid and any insurance can not be renewed.
Your Lasting Power of Attorney should sit side by side with your Will, the former protects your wishes whilst you’re alive and the latter protects your wishes once you’ve passed away. Our expert team has a great deal of experience in dealing with the preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney and dealing with Deputyship applications.
Why should you consider a Lasting Power of Attorney?
By making a Lasting Power of Attorney you can: –
Choose someone you trust to look after your affairs in the future, avoiding loss of control
Avoid a Deputyship application which is substantially more expensive and involves long delays, during which no one can access your funds or pay your bills, renew insurance etc.
Reduce the chance of conflict between family members in the future
Specify your wishes and the Powers of Attorneys you should have
It is no longer possible to make an Enduring Powers of Attorney but many that were created before October 2007 are still valid and can be registered. These would now need to be registered if the person making it is no longer able to make decisions for themselves; i.e. has lost capacity.
However, the EPA only deals with financial matters and you should still ensure you have a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
A Power of Attorney allows you to nominate an attorney to look after specific matters whilst you are unable to, usually because you are out of the country or due to some other temporary issue that prevents you from being able to deal with matters yourself.
If you have not made Lasting Powers of Attorney and lose capacity, then a deputyship application must be made. The family, usually through a solicitor, applies to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy but because it is a structured and detailed process it is time consuming and expensive. You can also lose control. It is far better to make Lasting Powers of Attorney whist you are able to.
How we aim to help you
We are specialists in mental capacity issues and the law relating to Powers of Attorney and the Court of Protection.
We understand that making Lasting Powers of Attorney can be stress but our processes and way of working with you will ensure that the whole process is easy, convenient and affordable. Whilst we strive to be 100% professional we also believe that our service delivery must be user friendly and delivered in plain English.
We assist offer the following services:
Lasting Power of Attorney preparation
Ordinary Power of Attorney preparation
Enduring Power of Attorney registration applications
Disputes regarding Powers of Attorney
Court of Protection deputyship applications
Court of Protection trustee, statutory Will, and other stand-alone applications
Assistance with Office of the Public Guardian investigations
Consultancy service for people acting in a representative capacity*)