|Wednesday 19th January 2011|
|19/01/2011 - Safeguard Your Future|
When considering the future management of your financial affairs and property (and/or your health and welfare), a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be invaluable. Whilst a Will covers who will look after your estate on death, an LPA covers the management of your affairs while you are alive.
With people living longer, there may come a time when you are no longer able to look after your own affairs, either due to physical or mental ill health. It can provide peace of mind for both you and your family if trusted persons have been appointed to assist you with the management of your affairs, should this become necessary in the future.
Sadly it is a common mistake to think that next of kin are able simply to step in to deal with matters such as banking and the sale of property on your behalf, should the need arise. This is not the case. In order to have the authority to deal with such matters, an LPA or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) (before October 2007) must have been created. If this is not the case and you have lost the ability to deal with your affairs due to an illness such as dementia or after suffering a brain injury following an accident, it may be too late for you to be able to make an LPA.
The Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian are the bodies that govern the protection of vulnerable persons. Where an LPA has not been made and the person in question has lost capacity, an application needs to be made to the Court by a suitable person i.e. a relative, a friend or a professional, such as a solicitor, to become a Deputy for that person.
The procedure for this application can be long, complex and expensive when compared to the cost of making an LPA. Where funds are required to cover care fees, waiting to be able to deal with the affairs of a loved one is not often a satisfactory option for concerned relatives. Equally, being a Deputy is not on its own sufficient to enable you to deal with the sale of property. This can be extremely inconvenient where a property needs to sold in order to fund care. A separate application must be made to appoint the Deputy as Trustee of the property in the place of the person who lacks mental capacity. This inevitably increases the cost of the process.
Don’t leave it too late to put your LPA in place. Save those who you would like to act on your behalf from inconvenience at a later date.
If you would like to discuss making a Lasting Power of Attorney in relation to your financial affairs and/or your health and welfare, please contact the Wills, Trusts and Tax department for a competitive quote.
John Clarke can be contacted on 01752 203500.
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