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Lasting Powers of Attorney

Ensure that you and your finances are looked after by someone you trust, whatever life may bring. 


What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?


If you are diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer's disease, suffer stroke, or simply have an accident that renders you brain damaged and

incapacitated you will no longer be deemed capable of making financial or health and welfare decisions for yourself. If this circumstance

arises and you have not made any LPA arrangements in advance for someone that you know and trust to make decisions on your behalf,

then:

• Bank Accounts in your sole name and joint accounts on which you are named will be frozen

• You will not be able to deal with the sale of your home

• Your family won't be able to decide where you live

• A government department, the Office of the Public Guardian/Court of protection, may appoint a Solicitor or Social Services to manage your affairs. This person is called a Court Appointed Deputy.


Someone in your family may wish to apply to the Court of Protection to act as your Deputy. Achieving Deputy status can take up to 12 months and the costs can easily exceed £2,000 with on going annual audit fees of around £800 for each application that you make to the

Court! As a Court Appointed Deputy you will have restricted powers and you will have to refer back to the Court for many of the decisions that you need to make.


By creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) when you have mental capability and awareness, you can appoint people you trust (they are called "Attorneys") to act on your behalf (you are known as the

"Donor'') when you are no longer able to act for yourself at which time they can manage your affairs straight away. As Donor you can give wide ranging powers to your chosen Attorneys and as long as they onlyever act in your best interests they will not need any interaction with the Court of Protection.

The cost of this peace of mind is a fraction of the cost of the alternative Deputy application.


LPAs came into force on October 1st 2007. There are two types of LPA.


The LPA- Property and Financial Affairs (LPAPA)

The LPA Property and Finance allows a person to hand over the decision-making powers in regard to their property and affairs to a responsible person of their choosing. It can be fairly mundane things like making sure that the person receives the right level State benefits, checking that their bank account is in order, or looking after investments , etc. 


The LPAPA does NOT ALLOW your chosen Attorneys to make decisions on any matters relating to your personal welfare. For that purpose the Mental Capacity Act [2005) introduced the second LPA:


The LPA - Health & Welfare (LPAHW) allows a person to hand over the decision - making powers in regard to their health care and

welfare to a responsible person of their choosing. The decisions made under the LPAHW are about the person's health, where they

should live and be cared for, and how (diet holidays, etc.). It involves decisions about medical treatment and medication options and may

optionally allow your Attorneys to make a decision about whether to withdraw life sustaining treatment. 


Without an LPAHW, Social

Services have the legal duty to make these decisions for you!


Why should I make Lasting Power of Attorney?


If you care enough about what happens to your assets after you die, you ought to care even more about keeping both them and yourself safe whilst you are alive.


While a Will ensures that your estate is distributed according to your wishes when you die, an LPA protects your assets by authorising somebody chosen by you to deal with your affairs on your behalf should you become unable to manage them yourself whilst you are alive.

Making an LPA allows you to have control over who is appointed as the person who makes decisions on your behalf in regards to either or both of matters concerning your property and financial affairs and matters concerning your personal welfare and health situation. You can appoint anyone you trust, family, friend or even a professional person such as a solicitor if desired.

If you have an LPA, your chosen representatives can act for you straight away if you become unable to handle your own affairs.


Note that you must be mentally capable to make an LPA. Therefore, just like a Will, if you don't have one then by the time you really need one its's too late.



What can I do with an LPA?

The LPA is a similar to the General Power of Attorney, except that it continues to be effective even if you become mentally incapacitated

whereas a general Power of Attorney doesn't. In particular, you can specify any or all of the following in an LPA:

• The identity of your Attorney(s) and, if you appoint more than one, whether they must act all Together ('Jointly') or whether they can act separately ('Jointly & Severally') or a combination of the two.

• You can specify replacement Attorney(s), in case one or more of your original Attorneys cannot or refuses to act, plus (if you want) conditions regarding who is to replace whom, etc.

• You can specify any restrictions that are to be placed on your Attorney(s) (e. g. they may not act while you are able to conduct your own affairs, or they may not act unless you are mentally incapacitated, or they may not act without the written consent of a specified relative on specified matters, or they can only sign cheques for you, or they can only deal with matters of less than a

specified amount of money e g. £1,000, or they may deal only with your financial affairs and not your property, or they may deal only with certain specified properties of yours, or they may deal only with certain bank accounts, etc.)

• You can offer your Attorney(s) guidance on how they are to act (which they are not legally obliged to follow but will still give the main idea of how to act for you).

• You can specify what fees (if any) your Attorney(s) may be paid from your estate (note that by law they are allowed to claim expenses).

• Optionally you can specify people who must be notified if and when an application to register the LPA is made. If they think that something is wrong, these people can then object to the registration of the LPA (i.e. they can stop it from being used).


What could happen if I don't make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you do not make a Lasting Powers of Attorney and set out what should happen if you become incapacitated, or when you become too old to manage, the Court will step in and do this for you.

A deputy could be appointed by the Court of Protection whose duty it will be to manage your affairs under the supervision of the Court. Alternatively, a friend or family member can make an application to the Court if Protection for "Deputy" status. This can take up to 12 months and costs can exceed £2,000 to process during which time your finances could be seriously compromised. In addition, the Court

process is extremely humiliating (reference: The Heather Bateman story, Saga Magazine, May 2007). The person authorised to handle your affairs on your behalf is not only unlikely to be who you would have chosen, but may even be a Court Official who can (and will) charge every time he/she acts for you.



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