Power of Attorney
Have you considered what would happen if you became incapable of making decisions for yourself?
As the population gets older many of us find that we need to give control of financial and legal matters to others. And as more of us work abroad we find we need to give others the power to act on our behalf in certain matters.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows this to be done. It could for example, allow someone to sign cheques and letters for you if you were going abroad for a while. Or, if you became seriously ill, your business and personal interests could be looked after by someone you trust.
For peace of mind it is important that you make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to nominate someone you trust now to make important decisions on your behalf in the future. LPA's are often left too late and you cannot make an LPA if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
Did you know that even a joint building society or bank account may be frozen if ONE of the account holders lacks mental capacity and there is no LPA in place.
If you no longer have the mental capacity to look after your own affairs and you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney, the Court of Protection may appoint a deputy to manage your affairs for you.
There could be significant legal fees to pay, plus annual supervision fees of up to £800, application fees, doctors certification fees, a security bond, deputy fees and a long delay before the Deputy Order is issued, and the deputy may not always be aware of your personal circumstances or wishes.
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 even simple matters like handling a bank or building society account, claiming benefits, handling tax affairs or transacting a house sale.
We draw up lasting powers of attorney and supervise their registration with the Office of the Public Guardian. Talk to us today to discuss our lasting power of attorney drafting service.
How much does it cost?
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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you to choose a person(s) you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you ever be unable to do so.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare £220 + VAT
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs £220 + VAT
Savings are available for couples wishing to draw up both types of LPA - please talk to us today.
There are two types of LPA:
1. Lasting Power of Attorney - Property and Financial Affairs which allows your chosen person(s) to make decisions regarding your property and finance such as paying bills, collecting pensions and benefits, dealing with your bank account, and buying and selling property etc.
2. Lasting Power of Attorney - Health and Welfare allows your chosen person(s) to make decisions concerning your welfare including where you live and the type of care and treatment you receive if you are unwell and unable to make decisions for yourself. You can also use the Health & Welfare LPA to give your chosen person the authority to consent or to refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf.
Won't my spouse automatically be able to do this for me if I am mentally incapable?
No. Many people think that their husband or wife will be automatically entitled to look after their affairs if they become mentally incapable, and do things such as dealing with their bank account, pension or benefits etc. If you have not given a Property and Financial Affairs LPA to your husband or wife then they will not have the authority to sign on your behalf without an order of the court.
I have an Enduring Power of Attorney - what is the difference?
You were able to make an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) prior to 1st October 2007. If you have a validly executed EPA dated before this time then it is still valid and it deals with your property & finance. You can't make EPA's any longer and these have been replaced with Lasting Powers of Attorney.
The Enduring Power of Attorney does not deal with your health and welfare and you may wish to consider making one of these documents to work alongside your existing EPA.
What happens if I don't put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney and later become mentally incapable of handling my own affairs?
In order for your family to deal with your financial affairs it would be necessary to make an application for someone to be appointed as a "deputy" by the Court of Protection. The person appointed may not necessarily be the person you would choose to act on your behalf and they may not always be aware of your personal circumstances. Applying for deputyship is a lengthy and costly process and the deputy will have to account to the court on an annual basis for any actions they have taken.