Have You Planned For The Future?
Private Client Update: Lasting Powers of Attorney
Have you ever thought about who would manage your finances if you were to suffer a stroke, serious physical impairment or develop memory problems? Who would you trust to make decisions regarding your health and welfare if you were unable to make decisions for yourself?
If you have experienced the difficulties encountered when a member of your family loses capacity, you will know how hard it can be for family members or friends to help them with simple tasks such as paying bills, dealing with the banks or even pay for the shopping.
None of us like to think about a day when we may lose our independence, but the issues I have described can become a very real problem when someone has started to lose capacity and has not arranged to plan ahead.
So what can be done?
In preparing a LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY, you can grant authority to a member of your family, a close friend or your legal advisor to deal with your finances and/or make decisions regarding your health and welfare when you are unable to do so yourself.
You can appoint more than one person to act for you, either jointly or independently of each other.
The documents will only become operative once they have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and Health & Welfare decisions can only be made if you have lost capacity.
You can choose to register the documents as soon as they are signed or you can wait until such time as they may be required. If you delay registration, your attorneys would choose to register the document(s) on your behalf. Note that if you delay registration and lose capacity in the meantime then you will not be able to change your Lasting Power of Attorney.
There is a one off cost in preparing Lasting Power of Attorney and a separate fee payable to the Office of the Public Guardian on registration.
What if I lose capacity and have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you lose mental capacity without having created a valid Lasting Power of Attorney, the only option available to your friends and/or family members is to make an application to the Court of Protection. This is a division of the family court which deals with the affairs of people who are no longer capable of managing their own affairs. The application procedure can be very lengthy and often takes in excess of 6 months before an order can be granted. The costs associated with the application are expensive and ongoing.
How can Clough & Willis help?
Clough & Willis has specialists who have a great deal of experience in advising individuals and their families about Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications.
Our solicitors will guide you through the whole process to make it as straightforward as possible for you to plan your future and have the peace of mind of knowing that your family will be able to act on your behalf without encountering difficulties.
Nicola, Rhianna and Sarah are all solicitors specialising in Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate matters. For more information, or to arrange an appointment to discuss your individual needs and how we can help you, contact us on 0161 764 5266.