Lasting Power of Attorney
WHAT IS A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY and WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE ONE
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives authority to your chosen attorneys to be able to make decisions about your financial affairs, your personal welfare, and care. Most people only think about doing this for elderly relatives showing signs of dementia but it deals with much more than just this. It deals with any situation where a person has lost mental or physical capacity; this could be through an accident of any kind, illness, stroke, or dementia. By having an LPA people who care about you and have your best interests at heart would be able to manage your affairs for you. Everybody should have one.
If anyone loses mental capacity for whatever reason and hasn’t made an LPA the government has set up the Court of Protection that freeze the person’s assets and manage the person’s affairs for them. The Court of Protection charge £2,000-£3,000 to freeze your assets and would charge you around £2,000-£3,000 per year to manage your affairs rather than your family doing it for nothing. Officials appointed by the Court would be making decisions and managing your affairs rather than the people who care about you, your family. It could take your family years to wrestle back control of your affairs from the Court of Protection after filling in numerous forms, paying approximately £1,000 in court fees, and having to prove that they have your best interests at heart. All this time your family would not be able to access any sole assets such as bank accounts, bonds, ISAs, or shares. If you own a house solely or jointly you would never be able to sell it, re-mortgage, or release equity. This would only be authorised by the court. If you own a business this could fail if no-one else can sign or make decisions on your behalf.
If you have lost capacity your family has no legal power to deal with social services, care in the home, care homes, and doctors, without an LPA for Health and Welfare. Doctors would be making life and death decisions for you rather than your family who would know what you would have wanted.
There are two types of LPA; Property and Financial Affairs allows your attorneys to deal with property, bank accounts, and bills; Health and Welfare gives your attorneys power to deal with social services, care in the home, care homes, type of care received, and power over doctors when making decisions in hospitals when you cannot make the decisions yourself.
You have to make LPAs at some point so it is a matter of when you do them. You must have the mental capacity to be able to make an LPA, and if you don’t have mental capacity it cannot be done, so you shouldn’t leave it too late. Be careful because if you have an unexpected accident or fall, an illness, or stroke, and lose mental capacity you won’t be able to make an LPA and your family could not act for you. If you have lost mental capacity a family member would have to apply through the Court of Protection to be a deputy which takes up to a year to complete and can cost around £1,000 in court fees and only covers financial matters.
The Court of Protection receives lots of complaints every year for the way it deals with people’s affairs and has seized billions of pounds of people’s assets.
Google search ‘complaints about the court of protection’, and ‘the Heather Bateman story’ both on Google and YouTube.
Don’t get caught out by the unexpected! Have peace of mind that your chosen attorneys would be able to deal with any situation rather than government officials dealing with your affairs and charging you thousands of pounds to do so.
Some people try to complete the paperwork themselves but we have found that most people start and then decide to get a professional to do it as it is a complicated process and it is very easy to make mistakes. If you make a mistake it could cause problems for your attorneys, the paperwork might have to be redrafted, and you could incur additional fees from the Office of the Public Guardian.
The whole process will take about three months from start to finish; we see you through the whole process. There are approximately twenty pages of paperwork per LPA form. We will visit you to discuss the different types of LPA, who should be your attorneys, and how they should act, answering any questions you may have. We will complete all the paperwork for you and post the forms to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) for registration. Registration currently takes approximately two months but can vary; we will liaise with yourself and the OPG if there are any queries during registration. The OPG currently charge £82 to register each LPA document; if you receive income related benefits it may be free to register, or if your gross annual income is less than £12,000 per annum the registration charges are reduced by half.
Complete the contact form on the ‘contact us’ page or phone Martin Wood on 07809 686904 to book a free consultation in your home.
Some examples of situations where a Lasting Power of Attorney is required
LPAs for Property and Financial Affairs cover physical incapacity as well as mental incapacity such as being hard of hearing, not being confident on the phone, or being ill. With the data protection act companies will not speak with your spouse or children so no one can deal with something as simple as dealing with bills or queries over the phone.
If you were to lose mental capacity your bank will not allow anyone else to deal with your bank accounts for obvious reasons. If your bank found out that one party to a joint bank account had lost mental capacity they could freeze a joint bank account. This could create financial hardship if you need access to these accounts.
LPAs for Health and Welfare cover care decisions; dealing with social services, care in the home, care homes, doctors, and hospitals when you cannot make decisions for yourself. Without an LPA for Health and Welfare no one has legal authority to act for you even if they are your spouse or children. People don’t realise that without an LPA for Health and Welfare no one can challenge a decision made by social services, doctors, care homes, or hospitals. For example, if social services got involved and said ‘we don’t think you can look after yourself, we are going to put you in a home’ and your family disagreed with this decision, no one can challenge that decision even if they said they would arrange care in the home and renovate the property so you could carry on living in it. Social services and the local authority would decide what home you would go into and again, no one can challenge this decision. No one can obtain access to your medical records so no one can do something as simple as discussing medicine with your doctor’s surgery; they would be told it is confidential information. If you were in a hospital being kept alive on a machine and your family knew that you wouldn’t want that, your family cannot challenge decisions made by the hospital. Consultants and hospitals want to protect themselves against claims made by people’s families and their job is to preserve life and keep people alive for as long as possible whether that was their wish or not. They are ignoring living wills and patient’s written wishes as they say they don’t necessarily cover that specific situation.
If you still don’t think that you need Lasting Powers of Attorney, then good luck. Your family is going to need it!