Are You Thinking About Making Lasting Powers of Attorney?
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Lasting Powers Of Attorney
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The one thing we would recommend to all our clients over the age of 50-55 is to draw up Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). It’s a simple and straightforward process and is the greatest insurance policy you can have. The problem with LPA’s is that when you actually do need them, and you have not already done this, often the opportunity is lost to make them. You can only grant a Lasting Power of Attorney when you are well, when you still have ‘mental capacity’. Imagine that your spouse or partner was incapacitated suddenly – would you be able to access the money you need to pay the bills? In the event of a problem, could you speak to the television or broadband provider if it’s in spouse or partners name? If you do not have an LPA, then the only option is to apply to the Court of Protection for authority, and this is a far more arduous and expensive process and should be avoided if possible.
Kirsty Claridge is qualified to act as a certificate provider for Lasting Powers of Attorney and can also be appointed to act on behalf of clients for their peace of mind. In all cases, we can talk you through the process and the powers conferred and help you make the right decision.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (an LPA) is a document where a person (a donor) appoints people to assist them with their financial affairs and gives them the power to take over financial and health decisions if the donor loses mental capacity. These are, realistically, the most important documents a person can have, aside from a Will.
Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Arguably any person who has a bank account, a property or any business dealings should have LPAs in place in case of accidents or sudden, unexpected illness. It is an insurance policy that would enable your family or friends to carry out all the important life administration whilst you recover. As we age, we may become less able to carry out day-to-day tasks and LPAs put in place when you are well can be a valuable lifeline to those who care about you and want to help.
What if I do not have one?
A person who needs an LPA because of a sudden illness, and does not have the opportunity to make one, can leave a huge administrative burden behind. Simple things such as TV contracts cannot be cancelled, property may be left uninsured, and bills are left unpaid. There is an alternative, a Court application, but this takes up to a year to put in place and is very, very expensive both for the initial application and the ongoing costs. All of this could be prevented simply by choosing who you wish to act now.
Court of Protection
If a loved one has lost the capacity to make decisions and you find yourself unable to help them due to rules put in place by government branches or banks, you will have no option but to make an application to the Court of Protection. I will be able to prepare the paperwork for you and can also apply to be appointed as Deputy if you prefer. This is a lengthy and complicated process and can be expensive due to both the Court and annual supervision fees, but I will do all I can to make it as straightforward as possible.
Management of Affairs
If you need someone to read your post, pay your bills and deal with all the day-to-day admin, I can do this and for a set monthly fee if preferred. I will ensure that your house is insured and your tax returns are completed on time, meaning you will not have to worry.