At present you may be perfectly able to deal with your affairs yourself. You may pay your bills, manage your finances and run your home without assistance. However, if you were at any future point to become unable to do this, have you considered who you would wish to assist you?
It is important to think about this at an early stage as you can only make legal decisions about this now, whilst you still have full mental capacity.
Whilst you have full mental capacity you are legally able to appoint what is known as an Attorney by a legal document known as a Lasting Power of Attorney to deal with your affairs in the future should become unable to do so yourself.
What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which is used to enable you to appoint someone else to deal with your affairs on your behalf should you become unable to do so yourself. You can appoint more than one person to act on your behalf, you can appoint for example two people to jointly deal with your affairs if you so wish.
The reason to have a Lasting Power of Attorney prepared, is that, if you subsequently become unable to deal with your own affairs due to a mental or physical impairment, then the Attorneys whom you have appointed, are then able to seamlessly deal with your affairs on your behalf.
Without a Power of Attorney, people are not automatically able to deal with your affairs on your behalf, even close relatives such as husbands, wife’s and children, do not have the automatic authority or access to your affairs should you lose capacity unless you have legally appointed them as your attorneys. In practice, this would mean that without a Power of Attorney, no one could access your bank account in order to pay for care fees and other outgoings on your behalf.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be legally drawn whilst you still have full mental capacity. It is for that reason, that we urge everyone to have a Lasting Power of Attorney drawn. Our capacity can be affected at any time, not just due to illnesses such as Dementia, but also as a result of a stroke or even car accidents can cause people to loose capacity amongst other illnesses and accidents.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney
- Property and Financial Affairs
- Health & Welfare
These documents enable your attorney/s to deal with the following matters on your behalf:-
Property and Financial Affairs
- Buying & Selling Property
- Paying for care fees
- Opening, closing and operating a bank, building society or other account
- Claiming and receiving benefits, pensions, inheritance and other income
- Dealing with tax matters
- Payment of debts and outgoings
- Insuring & maintaining property
- Making investments & appointing financial specialists
- Paying for private medical treatment and nursing home fees
- Making gifts (should you wish the attorneys to do so)
- Make decisions on medical treatment and day to day care
- Decide where you will live
- Rights of access to personal information
- Complaints about care/treatment
- Dental or Optical treatment
- The ability to consent to or refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf
You can appoint your Attorneys to deal with just your Property and Financial Affairs OR just your Health and Welfare, or you can appoint them to deal with all matters. You could also appoint different Attorneys for different matters.
How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Stage One: Preparation
We will discuss with you in depth your wishes and fully explain how the Lasting Power of Attorney will operate and the various options.
Once you have decided on who should act as your attorneys and how they will act, we will prepare the forms for you to sign and we will certify the documents as your Certificate Provider.
If your Attorneys are not present when we meet you, we will arrange to provide a full explanation of how the LPA will operate, forward detailed instructions to them regarding forms and arrange for them to complete their Declaration.
Stage Two: Registration
Your signed forms will only become valid for use once the OPG (“Office of the Public Guardian”) have inspected, approved and registered them.
A family member or close friend need to be notified that the LPA is being registered and we will write to them confirming that the LPA is being submitted to the OPG for registration.
The OPG require separate Registration Forms to be supplied alongside the LPA Form, as well as payment of the OPG’s Registration Fee of £110 per LPA (remissions or exemptions are available). Registration will take approximately 6-8 weeks.
Once these have been registered and received back by ourselves, we will arrange for a copy to be sent to you for your records and the original will be held in our strong room for safekeeping and only released on your instructions or if you are diagnosed as being incapable.
Other important information
During you period of incapacity it may be advisable for your attorney to be able to access your medical records. This is only possible if a separate letter of authority us given. If you wish us to do this you should let us know.
Your General Practitioner
If you complete a Health & Welfare LPA you may wish us to send a copy of it to your GP. We can do this on you behalf if requested.
Enduring Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) does not revoke an Enduring Power of Attorney (“EPA”) and the conflict between the two documents could create legal difficulties. You should therefore advise us if you believe you have an existing Enduring Power of Attorney.
It may be important during a period of incapacity for your attorney to be able to access your existing Will, which strictly remains confidential until your death. If you wish your attorney to have such authority, we can prepare the appropriate letter.
A Spousal appointment as attorney is automatically revoked on divorce. If you do not have a 2nd attorney or replacement the LPA will be revoked.
You can authorise the payment of reasonable expenses incurred by the Attorney to a limit of £1,000 per annum.
Should you wish to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney with an expert Solicitor, please do not hesitate to contact us either by completing the contact us form. Appointments are available in our Failsworth, Mossley and Stockport offices. Home visits are also available.
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