Many of you will recognise the importance of Wills in helping to protect your loved ones after you’re gone. But having a Power of Attorney in place is just as important, as it helps to protect you. It’s rather like a comforting “insurance” policy, as it enables you to appoint someone who you trust to deal with your matters, if you lose the physical ability or mental capacity to manage your own affairs, due to injury or illness.
We understand that it’s not always easy to think about your future if anything should happen to you, but Lucy Wood, explains the significant benefits of having Lasting Powers of Attorney and the key things to consider before deciding who to choose.
What are Powers of Attorney?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) allow you to choose someone who you trust, to act on your behalf and make financial or welfare decisions if you are unable to do so.
What could happen if I don’t have a LPA?
If you lose capacity to manage your own affairs, and you do not have an LPA (or an Enduring Power of Attorney) in place, someone will need to obtain a Court of Protection Order (COPO) to be appointed as your “Deputy” (the Court of Protection’s version of an attorney). The person appointed as Deputy might not be the incapacitated person’s first choice, in fact they could be someone with no family connections at all.
The Deputy application is a long and expensive process, there will also be ongoing fees paid to the Court, for example the annual insurance bond, and there are extensive reporting obligations to the Court on an ongoing basis.
The Deputy can only do what they have applied for under the COPO and may need to apply to court again for other decisions, so the process is more rigid, and it can take much longer for decisions to be reached.
It may work in some situations, but can add stress and burden on the Deputy, which could be avoided by creating an LPA.
How can B P Collins help?
- Although LPAs can be created without one, a solicitor can fully explain the pros and cons and what an LPA means for the donor.
- They can make sure that the donor has capacity to understand the process and that there is no undue influence involved in the making of the LPA.
- Solicitors are good sounding boards when the client is deciding who to appoint and how they can act.
- Solicitors can add an extra safeguard by storing the LPA until needed, as it is a live document once registered with the Office of Public Guardian.
- Solicitors can be appointed as attorneys too, in more complex situations.
- All advice can be conducted over a video or phone call to help you create an LPA.
If you’d like to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney or any other issues around end of life planning, such as wills, trusts and probate, please contact Lucy Wood on 01753 889995 or email email@example.com.