Sophie Harvey, Partner at Spire Solicitors LLP Aylsham office, discusses why you should consider making Lasting Powers of Attorney.
There may come a point in the future when you are unable to manage your own affairs. This may be brought on by physical illness, mental illness or simply old age. If this happens it is often a distressing time for both you and your family. To avoid uncertainty and ensure that your affairs are in order you should consider making Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney allows you to appoint one or more people that you trust (your attorneys) to make decisions for you in the future should you become unable to manage your affairs. Before it can be used a Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:
- Property and Financial Affairs – This allows your appointed attorneys to manage your finances and property. This document can be used by your attorneys to run your bank and savings accounts, to make or sell investments, to pay your bills and to sell your property. You can appoint your attorneys to look after such matters whilst you still have mental capacity as well as when you lack capacity.
- Health and Welfare LPA – This allows your appointed attorneys to make decisions regarding your health and welfare. This could include making decisions about the type of healthcare and medical treatment you receive (including life-sustaining treatment), where you live and matters such as your daily routine. Personal welfare decisions can only be made by your attorneys when you lack the mental capacity to make them yourself.
With both types of Powers of Attorney you can include information telling your attorneys how you would prefer them to make certain decisions for you or indeed you can give them specific instructions which they must follow when making decisions.
If you do not have Powers of Attorney in place and you lose mental capacity many problems can arise. If this situation occurs an application must be made to the Court of Protection in order for your affairs to be administered. This process can be costly and time-consuming and you will have no choice as to who is appointed by the Court to deal with your affairs.
Up until the end of September 2007, a person could make an Enduring Power of Attorney appointing attorneys to manage their property and financial affairs. Whilst any existing documents remain valid the system was reviewed as vulnerable to abuse and we now have the new system of Lasting Powers of Attorney in their place.
Remember…….Your Will deals with matters after you die but we highly recommend that you also prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney to deal with matters whilst you are alive.
Our role would be to prepare and register your Powers of Attorney and to guide you through all of the relevant matters. If you would like our assistance please contact us.