If you could no longer make decisions for yourself, who would you trust more to look after your affairs – your family or a stranger from the Local Authority? If the answer is your family, you MUST put in place Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a powerful legal document enabling you to appoint trusted individuals of your choice (an Attorney) to handle your affairs on your behalf if you cannot look after yourself through mental or physical incapacity. Your LPA should reflect your wishes and needs.
You can’t put them in place ‘when you need them’. It’s too late! Put them in place NOW when you are fit and healthy. You may never need to use them but they can be called upon should the unthinkable happen.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs – This allows the persons appointed (The Attorneys) to make decisions about paying bills, dealing with banks and investments, arranging and collecting benefits and even selling property, on behalf of the Donor.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare – This allows the Attorney(s) to make decisions for the Donor such as care issues, where the donor lives, and, where the donor wishes, giving or refusing consent to life sustaining treatment.
You may have had discussions with loved ones about your wishes should the unthinkable happen, commonly life sustaining treatment, medication and long term care. Without an LPA in place those wishes may be irrelevant, a doctor or the Local Authority will decide on your behalf. Alongside this bank accounts and investments could be frozen along with standing orders and direct debits to pay bills in your name. Even having a joint back account would not stop this happening.
No. It is too late to set up an LPA once you have a medical condition which causes mental incapacity. You could also become mentally incapable as the result of an accident or old age. Without an LPA in place the only way your financial affairs can be managed is by an application being made to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. ACT NOW before its too late!
If there is no LPA in place the Court of Protection will decide who looks after your affairs. This is not always the person you would have chosen. The Deputyship Order can take up to 10 months to obtain depending on the complexity of the case. This can cause a financial burden for your loved ones, having your assets frozen during this period. The Deputyship Order itself is also very expensive. It is not uncommon to exceed £3000 in court and solicitors fees, plus an annual fee of £500 is also payable. Once obtained, the Deputy must report to the Court/OPG at all times and may have to submit annual accounts for Court approval and receive periodical visits by a Court Visitor. A Deputy must account for every penny spent and any requests for money must be made to the Court in writing.
To support causes close to our hearts, 5 years ago we decided that we would no longer charge for writing Wills, instead asking clients to make a recommended donation of £40 to charity. We were so confident that people would be happy with our Will-Writing service that we believed they would come back in the future for other legal services, at which point we could charge our usual fees. This has proved true, and over 63% of clients do come back for further advice.
We are proud to have raised over £2,000.000 in upfront donations, supporting fantastic causes up and down the country.