LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY ADVICE
Lasting Powers of Attorney advice – It is safe to say that none of us anticipated the year we all endeavoured in 2020 but it has given us all time to reflect, adapt and appreciate family and friends. It has brought us together and shown us that there are times when we need to rely on others to help us, whether that be doing the shopping, paying the bills or liaising with medical practitioners concerning treatment or prescriptions.
We have all had to overcome hurdles from learning new IT skills so we can video call family and friends to being hit with ‘I can’t talk to you, I can only speak to the account holder’. We can make life simpler for not only ourselves but our loved ones by making a Will or a Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint people known as attorneys to manage your financial affairs and property and/or make decisions concerning your health and welfare. The people you appoint should be people that you trust to act in your best interests at all time, they can be family, friends or even professionals such as solicitors or accountants. At Roper James, we are here to give you the best Lasting Power of Attorney advice possible.
Lasting Power of Attorney advice – There are two types and you can do either or both. The first is known as a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and allows your attorneys to manage your financial affairs should you be physically or mentally unable to manage them yourself. Like with a Will, nothing changes now but you have the peace of mind, should you need someone to help you then they will have the legal authority to act on your behalf. Under a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs, your attorneys would be able to do everything that you can do in relation to managing your financial affairs, from paying money into your account, withdrawing money from your account, to liaising with utility companies and pension providers on your behalf. They can even sell your property if required.
The second type of Lasting Power of Attorney is known as a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare. This type of Lasting Power of Attorney only comes into effect if you are mentally unable to make the decision yourself. It allows your attorneys to liaise with medical practitioners on your behalf, decide what medical treatment you receive including life sustaining treatment and where you live. It allows them to represent you and ensure that your wishes are heard.
Before a Lasting Power of Attorney can be used, it must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. The Office of the Public Guardian regulate Powers of Attorney and make your attorney’s accountable for their actions. This acts as a safeguard should you lack the necessary mental capacity to oversee what your attorneys are doing on your behalf. As with a Will, if your wishes change over time, you can cancel your Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is an extremely useful document, it is completely separate from your Will and dies with you on your death which is when your Will then takes effect. A Lasting Power of Attorney is not just for the elderly but for each and every adult. More and more now we are hearing of people in their 30’s and 40’s suffering heart attacks, strokes and even Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, a Lasting Power of Attorney can even be used on a temporary basis such as when someone is deployed in the services and then once they have returned, they retain full control of their financial affairs. I was just 21 years old when I made mine.
Should you lose mental capacity and not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, then an application would have to be made to the Court of Protection for someone to be appointed by the Court to look after your financial affairs. Only in exceptional circumstances will the Court of Protection appoint someone to make decisions concerning your health and welfare. You should note that the person applying to look after your financial affairs may not necessarily be the person you would have chosen. The Court of Protection route is a very long and expensive process. It is therefore wise to obtain Lasting Power of Attorney advice now whilst you fully understand and appreciate the authority it gives. A Lasting Power of Attorney also lets you choose who you wish to act on your behalf.
Lasting Powers of Attorney advice – To discuss further or to find out more about the Court of Protection process, please contact Sophia Pettit on 01752 546448. We have offices at Saltash, Plymouth and Ivybridge for your convenience. Contact us today.