We hope that the following will answer some of the most frequently asked questions in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorneys.
Who will look after my finances if I am unable to do so?
You may want someone to look after your financial affairs even if you are still mentally capable of doing so yourself. It could be that you are going on a extended holiday, going into hospital or you simply want someone to help you keep your finances in order. If you want someone to be able to continue looking after your finances and affairs in the event that you lose mental capacity, then you should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney. Without this authority even your Husband or Wife will be unable to deal with many financial matters on your behalf.
What are the options?
There ae two types of Powers now available. The first type of Power gives others authority to deal with your property and financial affairs, including, buying and selling your property, paying your mortgage and other outgoings, investing your money and arranging repairs to your property. This Power cannot be used until it is registered with the Court. It can be registered at any time, either by yourself, thereby giving immediate effect, or by your Attorney(s) (these are the people appointed to deal with this for you) if you lose mental capacity.
The second type of Power deals with your personal welfare and can only be used once you lose mental capacity and it has been registered with the Court. It deals with the decisions such as where you will live, who you should have contact with and what medical treatment you should or should not receive.
You can make one or both of these.
Which ever Power of Attorney you choose it is an important document and you should take care as to whom you appoint. They should be trustworthy and have the appropriate skills to make the necessary decisions. If you appoint more than one Attorney, you can appoint them to always act together (jointly) or together and independently (jointly and severally). You may even appoint them to act jointly for some things and jointly and severally for others, although this requires care as it may cause problems of interpretation when using the Power.
You may also choose to appoint a successor to your Attorneys in case one of them dies or otherwise cannot act for you. In addition, you may place restrictions on what your Attorneys may do for you or provide guidance as to how they are to act.
What happens if I do not make any arrangements?
You may make a Lasting Power of Attorney at any time provided that you have the mental capacity to do so. Delay may mean, that you are faced with making the decision when you are already seriously ill.
If you do not have the mental capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney it may be necessary for the Court of Protection to become involved. An application needs to be made and then the Court will appoint a person called a deputy to make decisions of your behalf. The major disadvantage of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place is firstly the possible delay in dealing with your affairs and secondly the cost of making a deputyship application, is likely to be much more expensive than making a Lasting Power of Attorney and registering it in the first place.
What if I have an existing Enduring Power of Attorney?
The Law relating to Powers of Attorney changed with effect from 1st October 2007. Any Enduring Power of Attorney made under the old Law before that date remains effective but it will relate only to your property and financial affairs. If you wish to give someone authority over your health or welfare you will need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Can I get more information?
Call our office on 01900 602235 to speak to someone in relation to any questions you have. An initial appointment at the office may be required. Please remember that we also offer home visits and telephone consultations.