Saturday 5 May 2012

Help! I Need Somebody...

Powers of Attorney
Article by
Sharon Brown
Have you ever considered who would look after your finances if you couldn't look after them yourself?  Many people assume that this is something only the elderly need to consider, but due to strokes, heart attacks, and other debilitating illnesses or accidents mental incapacity is something that can affect anyone of any age.

If you lack sufficient mental capacity your spouse, children, friends or other family members will find it extremely difficult to look after your finances on your behalf.   Banks and other financial organisations are legally not allowed to give them any information or discuss your finances with them.

To ensure that people of your choice are able to help you it is imperative that you prepare a Financial and Property Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”). This document enables you to choose someone you know and trust to assist you with matters should you become unable to deal with them yourself. 

Once the LPA has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, your attorney will be able to assist you with your finances and talk to financial organisations on your behalf.  They can access your money, pay any bills, protect your property and investments and arrange to fund any care that you may require.

To ensure you are covered for any eventuality it is now also possible to prepare a Health and Welfare LPA.  This document enables you to appoint someone to make decisions such as where you live, who you live with, any care you may require, access to medical records and even whether or not you receive life sustaining treatment.

If you do not have an LPA and your loved ones wish to assist you with your affairs, they will need to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputy order.  A Judge will consider the application and if they grant the Order it will give them similar powers to those discussed above. 

However, the Courts rarely appoint a deputy in relation to your health and welfare and will generally only make decisions in relation to one-off questions or decisions. This could involve numerous applications to Court if your family disagrees with social services, medical staff or a care home about your care.

Applications for a deputy order on average tend to cost three times as much as an LPA, and take approximately 6 months to put into place.   Deputy orders can only be applied for once you have lost capacity, and until it is granted no one is able to assist you. However, an LPA can be prepared and registered at any time so that should it be needed it can be used immediately, making things easier for both yourself and your loved ones.

To see how I can help you please telephone 01992 422128 or email me

Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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