Don't Lose Control!
Make a Lasting Power of Attorney
We are all living longer which increases the risk that at some stage we may become unable to make our own financial or welfare decisions.
Quite rightly no one, not even your husband or wife, has access to your cash, investments or property without your permission. This can lead to untold expense and worry for your family who would need to make an application to the Court of Protection if you became unable to manage your finances or make welfare decisions through illness or accident.
Unless you've legally given permission to someone you trust to manage your affairs (your attorney), your assets may be frozen unless someone applies to the Court of Protection. This is a lengthy and expensive process. The person appointed by the Court (the Deputy) may not be the person you would have chosen and could even be an official. The Deputy may not have the powers, guidance or restrictions you would like them to have and must submit accounts to the Court each year. An application to the Court may be required each time the Deputy needs to make significant decisions which could prove expensive. Court fees will be due each year and will quickly mount up.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which allows you to plan ahead and appoint a trusted relative or friend to make decisions for you if you're unable to make decisions yourself. By choosing who you want to make decisions for you, a Lasting Power of Attorney puts you in control of decisions eventually being made on your behalf.
Using a Lasting Power of Attorney (Property and Affairs) you can appoint attorneys to make financial decisions including the buying and selling of your house, dealing with your tax affairs, operating bank accounts and claiming benefits on your behalf.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (Personal Welfare) allows you to choose attorneys to make decisions relating to your living accommodation and care, medical treatment and matters such as diet, dress and visitors.
Your attorney should be a person you know and trust. Your attorney must be at least 18 years of age and must not be bankrupt. You can choose more than one attorney. If you choose multiple attorneys, you must decide whether your attorneys must act together or can all act together but they can also act separately if they wish. If attorneys must act together, the power will end if one of them cannot act for any reason. You may appoint your attorneys together in respect of some matters and together and independently in respect of others.
You can name a replacement(s) in case an attorney is unable to or no longer wishes to continue acting for you.
You can include legally binding restrictions in your Lasting Powers of Attorney. This will prevent your attorney(s) making certain decisions for you. These decisions may still have to be made and other people will have to take them for you. This could be your doctor or care worker or the Court of Protection and a decision will be made in your best interests.
You may also give guidance to your attorney(s) in your Lasting Power of Attorney. This guidance is not legally binding but should be taken into account by your attorney(s) when making decisions for you.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used after it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The registration can be carried out by you or by your attorney(s). We would advise you to register the form immediately to avoid delay as the registration process can take several months and any problems or objections can be more easily overcome.
You can change your mind and cancel the Lasting Power of Attorney at any time even after it has been registered if you have the mental capacity to do so. We can assist with the required formalities to revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney ceases on death at which point your Will takes effect.