Imagine you have a joint account with your partner and he or she is unable to manage money due to something like dementia. Should this happen, the bank can freeze a joint account making it impossible for you to access any of your money. This could be disastrous in the short time and involve a very lengthy and costly legal process to get the bank to allow you to use the funds in the account. The same would be true if you needed someone else access to your account should you lose your mental capacity and are no longer able to manage your own affairs.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is set up in advance, while you still has their full mental capacity to deal with your finances. You could lose mental capacity for different reasons, such as illness (for instance Alzheimer’s Disease) or accident resulting in major injury. Setting up an LPA can be a temporary or a permanent solution so that the person who has lost capacity to make decisions can be cared for, looked after and their financial affairs kept in order. A friend, relative or spouse/partner is named in the LPA as the person to make the decisions, the so-called attorney. He or she then acts on the donor’s behalf (the person who has set up the LPA). You get to plan in advance on
- The decisions you want to be made on your behalf if you lose capacity to make them yourself.
- The people you want to make those decisions.
- How you want the people to make those decisions.
If you don’t have an LPA and you need one, the alternative is to apply to the Court of Protection for Deputyship – which is a lengthy and expensive process.
There are two kinds of LPAs:
- health and welfare
- property and financial affairs
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney decides who makes the decisions regarding affairs such as
- your daily routine, e.g. washing, dressing, eating
- medical care
- moving into a care home
- life-sustaining treatment
It can only be used once you are no longer able to make those decisions yourself.
A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney decides who makes decisions on your behalf regarding things such as
- managing a bank or building society account
- paying bills
- collecting benefits or a pension
- selling your home
This LPA can be activated as soon as it is registered and with your permission. It can be activated for a limited time only. We have an elderly client who has full mental capacity, who allows her son to use the LPA when it is icy outside, and manages her own finances in good weather.
Here is a great video clip from the One Show, talking about the importance of sorting out a Lasting Power of Attorney. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p005zkb7
And this article in the Telegraph also gives valuable advice on the subject. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/10725991/Martin-Lewis-Five-unpleasant-truths.html
How can I help?
I, Amanda Harris, provide a friendly and professional service in the comfort and privacy of your own home. My services include Lasting Powers of Attorney, Applications for Deputyship and Wills. I will give you a price up-front with no hidden charges.
I am a member of the Society of Will Writers and follow the Code of Practice laid down by the Society and all work is covered by Professional Indemnity insurance. I can also offer a secure storage and retrieval service for your documents.
Please get in touch if you have any further questions about Lasting Powers of Attorney.