LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
We all know that we should write a will, but too few of us know we should also consider something called Lasting Powers of Attorney.
If you do not have an LPA in place and later become mentally incapacitated, relatives may face long delays and expense in applying to the court of protection, to get access, and take control of your assets and finances. Fees are currently in excess of £3,000.
The footage below was recorded by the BBC. In the video, Heather Bateman is interviewed by Dominic Littlewood. Heather explains the issues, complications and costs forced upon herself and her daughter having to deal with the Court of Protection. You would be well advised to listen to Heathers story.
By 2025, more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Society. One in five people over 85 already suffers from it, with rates significantly higher among women than men. Handling your financial affairs becomes virtually impossible – which is why charities who care for the elderly, recommend everyone plans ahead, to ease the potential burden on relatives.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), gives another individual the legal authority to look after specific aspects of your financial affairs, or health and welfare, should you lose the capacity to do so. It's not just for the elderly; younger people may become incapacitated through accident or illness.
LPAs are designed to be recognised by financial institutions, care homes and local authorities, as well as tax, benefits and pension authorities. They are legal documents that can be set up relatively cheaply. You may consider having one, alongside your will.
LPAs were introduced in October 2007, replacing the previous system of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) – although an EPA created before October 2007 remains valid.
There are two types of LPA: one that can cover decisions about money matters, known as a property and financial affairs LPA, and one that can cover decisions about healthcare, known as a personal welfare LPA. A key difference, is that a property and financial affairs LPA can be used while someone still has capacity, whereas a personal welfare LPA, can only be used once the person has lost mental capacity.
You may choose anyone you trust as your attorney, provided they are over 18, not bankrupt and they are willing to take on the role, which is a serious responsibility. It is their duty to make all decisions in your best interests, and they must follow certain principles set out in the Mental Capacity Act, aimed at making sure you are encouraged to make your own decisions where possible. As a donor, you can restrict or specify the types of decisions the attorney can make, or you can allow them to make all decisions on your behalf.
To protect your interests, an LPA must be signed by a certificate provider – a solicitor or someone else of your choosing – who certifies that you understand the LPA and have not been pressurised into signing it. You could choose close friends or relatives (other than your chosen attorneys) who must be formally told that you are setting up an LPA, and be given the opportunity to raise any concerns.
Registering the document can take up to three months, and costs £84 per LPA, so £164 if you want to set up both a property and financial affairs LPA,tgbgbbb and a personal welfare LPA. Anyone on benefits, or who has an income of less than £12,000, can get an exemption or reduction on the registration cost.
OUR VALUE GUARANTEE
We want you to be completely happy with your decision to protect your estate with us. Effective planning should always save money. It should never cost money in the long term but should be seen as a prudent investment that preserves your wealth for your family. We are confident that the solutions we offer can potentially save your family thousands of pounds that we are prepared to guarantee that they will leave your family better off during the Trust period than they would have been if your estate had been left unprotected.