We all know that these are difficult times financially for many people and families. It is all too easy to put off what can seem to be an unnecessary expense until a later date, when times are easier.
Some people think making a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) can be put off, but we say that to do so is a real risk. We know this because we real life experience of helping clients.
What if I don’t make one?
An example of what can go wrong is in the case of Mrs D. She lived on her own in a rural part of Shropshire, near Shrewsbury. She was an independent, strong willed lady in her 70s and was well used to looking after herself, having been widowed for some years.
Being a keen gardener she kept active and enjoyed growing her own vegetables, thinking nothing of regularly digging over her large vegetable patch on her own.
She had made a Will with us and was told at the time that a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) could be a great help should she become unable to make her own financial arrangements for any reason. However Mrs D did not like the idea. She did not think anything would happen to her.
Sadly Mrs D unexpectedly suffered a severe stroke that left her unable to communicate or make decisions for herself.
As she had not made a LPA it was necessary to make an application to Court for the appointment of a Deputy to take control of her financial and property issues. Unfortunately her family could not agree on who should be appointed. In the end one of our solicitors was appointed and dealt with all the financial and property matters. Of course the solicitor did so in a very professional way but the costs of the Court application and substantial ongoing administration amounted to thousands of pounds. This could so easily have been avoided if Mrs D had made a LPA and chosen for herself whom she wanted to look after her property and finances.
So how can an LPA help?
The contrast with the help that a LPA can give is startling and to show this we can give another example of a client we helped. Following the death of her husband Mrs B, a lady in her 80s who lived near Shrewsbury, Shropshire came to see us to change her Will. At the same time she was told about Lasting Power of Attorney arrangements. She took home a leaflet and read it in her own time. She decided that she liked the idea of choosing who would look after her property and finances if it ever came to the point where she could not do so particularly because her only child lived in Canada.
Mrs B made a LPA, with our help. The procedure was quite simple and we guided her through the arrangements. Mrs H asked us to register the LPA straightaway to avoid any delay should the document be needed in the future.
Some time later Mrs B’s daughter noticed that her mother was becoming rather forgetful. This progressed and Mrs B’s daughter started to deal with her Mother’s arrangements for her. The LPA was ready to be used and she lodged it with her Mother’s banks and the DWP ensuring that her finances ran smoothly. She discussed things with her mother and involved her in decisions as much as she could. Eventually the time came for Mrs H to go into a care home. Using the LPA her daughter was able to make the arrangements for the sale of the house, using the proceeds to fund her placement in an excellent home.
Because Mrs H had thought ahead a great deal of time, money and stress was avoided, both for her and her daughter. Her daughter was able to give the help her mother needed without having to deal with costly Court proceedings.
How can we help?
Our advice is to make an LPA so that your and your family can take advantage of the benefits they offer.
If you have any questions please contact our Shrewsbury office on 01743 350 571 where we have specialists who will be happy to help.Find out more about our Trusts & Estates department