A Lasting Power of Attorney Puts YOU In Control
Most people acknowledge that it is important to organise their affairs in the event of their death, but do not always make the same provision during their lifetime.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives someone you trust – usually a relative or friend – the power to act on your behalf, if you are unable to do so yourself due to an accident, illness or loss of mental or physical capacity.
Putting LPA in place puts you firmly in control of your affairs, as you decide exactly how much authority your 'Attorney' would have and whether you want to impose any restrictions.
There are safeguards to make sure that your wishes are carried out and the person acting on your behalf recognises the seriousness of their responsibility.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be prepared if you have full mental capacity.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney;
Property & Financial AffairsLasting Power of Attorney
- Allows the persons appointed to make decisions about paying bills, dealing with banks and investments, arranging and collecting benefits and even selling property on your behalf.
Health and WelfareLasting Power of Attorney
- Allows the persons appointed to make decisions for the Donor on care issues, where the donor lives and can also specify the thier wishes regarding life sustaining treatment.
For your own protection, neither document can be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
What will happen if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An application has to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
There are three main problems;
- Lengthy delays
- Substantial costs
- Loss of control over your affairs
This process normally takes between 9-12 months, at a minimum cost of £2,170. During that time, no one has access to your assets (including bank accounts) until the final Order is issued and all Court costs, that have been incurred to date, are deducted.
A Judge will make the final decision as to who is appointed to deal with your affairs, which is often not the person you would have chosen.
This person is called a Deputy and can often be a retired solicitor/barrister or sometimes the Local Authority. This would mean that those seeking to care for you, such as your family, have the added stress of dealing with Court appointed officials every time a decision is required. They would also have no official say in any medical treatment for you, even if they knew what your wishes would have been.
The Court of Protection's job is to safeguard the interests of people who no longer have the capacity to make decisions for themselves, but if you want your loved ones to care for you and make decisions on your behalf, then you need to ensure you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
Furthermore not all applications to the Court are successful. Therefore your assets would be unavailable for use, whilst you are alive.
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