I would like to thank everyone who contacted me following my blog “New Start to the Year – Get your Affairs in Order – Part One”. For those who I have seen and spoken to, you will now be aware it is equally important to have your affairs in order during your lifetime, not just on death, in the event you suddenly suffer from a physical or mental incapability.
Therefore, as promised I wish to provide you with information about Lasting Powers of Attorney.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare and I shall deal with each of them in turn:-
Property & Financial Affairs
Essentially, everything that you do in respect of your own property and financial affairs, your attorney will be able to do the same on your behalf, such as paying bills, banking, completing tax returns, run your business, sell your property and claiming benefits/income.
Health & Welfare
Your attorney will be able to make decisions about medical treatment, life sustaining treatment, where you should live, what your social activities should be and who should visit you when you are not capable of making those decisions for yourself. This is particularly useful for those who do not have a close family or where there is likely to be family disagreements.
Who should I appoint as an Attorney?
Your Attorney should be someone you trust to make decisions in your best interest and capable of dealing with your affairs. I would suggest you appoint at least two attorneys but you can appoint up to four.
Attorneys may act “jointly” whereby they have to make decisions together or “jointly and severally”, whereby either of them can make a decision. This is particularly useful if one attorney is on holiday or does not live locally.
At what age should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Many clients tell me that they have not yet “lost their marbles” and do not require a Lasting Power of Attorney. It is imperative to point out that a Lasting Power of Attorney can only be drawn up if you still have mental capacity.
Circumstances dictate at what age you require a Lasting Power of Attorney, for instance you may be over 60, getting your affairs in order and wish to have a Lasting Power of Attorney as a matter of course. You may have just found out that you have a serious illness and will need care. However, it may also be that you are relatively young and run a business; you may have to consider what would happen to your business if you suffered from a sudden accident and lost mental capacity.
I appreciate it all sounds a bit grim. If only I had a crystal ball to give you a definite age!
What happens if I have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An application may have to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to deal with your affairs, which can take several months to obtain and is more expensive.Find out more about our Trusts & Estates department