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Why make lasting powers of attorney

Have you ever wondered what might happen if you could no longer manage your own finances or were unable to make your own decisions about where you lived? For some people this may be a worry.

As a nation, we are now living longer, but with that comes age related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A lasting power of attorney is the legal document that states who has the legal authority to act on your behalf when are no longer able to act for yourself. By making a lasting power of attorney you decide who you would like this to be and these people are called your attorneys.

Lasting powers of attorney are in two parts, one part deals with your property & financial affairs, such as managing bank accounts, paying bills and selling your home, and the other part deals with your health & welfare, such as where you should live and who you should live with, your day-to-day care and consenting to or refusing life sustaining treatment.

Once lasting powers of attorney are prepared and registered, the property & financial affairs part can then be used by your attorneys straightaway. For example, they can take the document to your bank/building society and they can deal with all your banking matters, your utility providers and income providers, etc.

However, the health & welfare part cannot be used until you have lost mental capacity, in other words when you can no longer make your own decisions.

Lasting powers of attorney can only be made whilst you have the mental capacity to do so. When you do not have this ability anymore, it can become a costly and time consuming exercise for your relatives to sort out your affairs.

It is also worth bearing in mind that a property & financial affairs lasting power of attorney can be useful to have in place, not just if you become mentally incapable of managing your own affairs, but also if you become physically incapable or simply do not want the responsibility any more.

If you would like to discuss making lasting powers of attorney, please contact our wills & probate team now.

Author – Rachel Towle

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Worried about what the future may hold?

The plight of Ashley, the vicar in Emmerdale, diagnosed with early onset dementia, has prompted many of us to think about how we would cope if we or a loved one were to lose mental capacity. It’s a frightening thought, but it is something we can plan for and make decisions about now.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you give someone you trust the authority to handle things on your behalf. There are two types of LPA:

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to give someone authority to deal with your bank accounts, pay bills, handle other finances and sell or maintain your property for you, even if you are still able to do so yourself, but prefer not to for any reason.

Health and Welfare LPA

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to give someone authority to make decisions about your health and welfare, but ONLY in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.

The important thing to remember is that the LPA has to be made whilst you have the mental capacity to create it and it cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Once registered, it does not have to be used unless it becomes necessary at some point in the future.

The person making the LPA has to instruct the solicitor personally to prepare the document; it cannot be prepared on someone else’s instructions on your behalf because the solicitor must see you to ensure that you understand what effect the LPA will have.
To this end, a certificate of understanding will be needed; your solicitor can act as the certificate provider for the Lasting Power of Attorney, if you wish. Alternatively, a registered professional such as a doctor or nurse, or someone who has known you well for over two years could act as a certificate provider; it is your choice.
If you would like to know more about planning for the future or just want a chat about your options, call our friendly team today on 01302 320621 or email info@athertongodfrey.co.uk

Atherton Godfrey – “Efficient, understanding and professional” (Wills & Probate client)

Author: Gail Harris