01 Dec Why Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney
- As we live longer, mental capacity issues will continue to increase. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, by 2025 more than one million people will have dementia in the U.K.
As with any debilitating illness or condition, it will become difficult for you to manage your own affairs. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney while you can puts you in control of any future decisions that may be made on your behalf by choosing someone you trust to make them if you are unable to.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 makes it clear that no-one can make a decision on behalf of another adult if that person ‘does not have capacity,’ – that is, unless they have been appointed as an Attorney or Deputy.
Did you know that, if you have a joint bank account with your partner/spouse, and one of you loses ‘capacity,’ the bank can freeze that bank account, leaving you with no access to vital funds. This situation can be avoided if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
- Life changing events can happen at any time – it’s not just the elderly that may become incapacitated. If you have taken the time to put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, then your family will be able to make important decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity.
If you haven’t made an LPA, then your family would have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship. This is a more expensive, time consuming and intrusive process.
- Lasting Powers of Attorney pack a punch. It gives the Attorney the legal authority to manage your property and financial affairs and be involved with decisions about your health and welfare.
These documents are designed to be recognised and accepted by all financial institutions and medical practitioners within England and Wales. An organisation receiving a Lasting Power of Attorney from your Attorney should accept it as your ‘authority’ to act on their behalf.
- A Lasting Power of Attorney protects your interests. This means, in the event of you losing capacity, you decide who deals with your financial affairs and health and welfare needs, NOT the Court of Protection.
- Lasting Powers of Attorney are an insurance against a potential life changing event. We do not think twice about insuring those things that are important to us, like our homes, cars and other valuable assets to ensure financial protection. Lasting Powers of Attorney should be seen in a similar way. We hope they will never need to be used; however, should the worst happen, they are there at the very time your family need them the most.
- Lasting Powers of Attorney are not just for your bank accounts, they can also help with your business decisions. Lasting Powers of Attorney can be part of your succession planning for your business interests. It is possible to do an LPA for your personal assets and a separate document for your business assets. This will help to ensure provisions are in place for your business to continue with minimum disruption.
- Deputyship applications are more expensive than Lasting Power of Attorney applications. You could expect to spend in the region of £1500 to £3000 for a Deputyship Application to cover professional fees, and also court costs of approximately £500. There are also annual supervision fees to be paid. Your deputy would also have to account for every bit of expenditure and submit accounts each year – it is a far more intrusive process!
What happens if I don’t make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
In the future, if you become unable to make decisions for yourself due to ‘incapacity’ then no-one can legally make decisions on your behalf. Your relatives would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be nominated as a Deputy for both finance and property and health and welfare.
It is very rare that the Court of Protection will grant a Deputyship for Health and Welfare unless there is a dispute about a particular issue, i.e. where you should live or what medical treatment you have. Your family will have no absolute control over these decisions unless they can get a Deputyship!
If your family are given a Deputyship for finance and property, it will be a very prescriptive process, and also intrusive and expensive.
It is essential to have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place while you still have the capacity and ability to do them.
Safeguarding Futures can assist with the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney for you or your family members, ensuring it is done accurately and efficiently, at a cost much lower than our competitors. We can guide you through the whole process and ensure that you understand your duties and responsibilities as an Attorney for your loved one.
Life changing events can happen at any time – it’s not just the elderly that may become incapacitated. If you have taken the time to put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, then your family will be able to make important decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity.
If you would like to discuss this further get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org