Lasting Powers Of Attorney – What Happens If You Can No Longer Handle Your Affairs?
Do you ever think about what would happen if you were no longer able to handle your affairs? If you’re the one who always makes the financial decisions and pays the bills you may not realise that you could leave your family in dire straits if you become incapacitated in any way that will prevent you from taking care of your affairs.
Should this happen without you having made any provision, your spouse or a close relative or friend would have to make an application to the Court of Protection for their appointment as your Deputy to act on your behalf. This involves a lengthy procedure and payment of fees which can run into thousands of pounds. The Court continues to monitor your affairs and the Deputy must seek approval of the Court for any dealings with your money or assets. The Court also charges an annual fee based on the value of your assets and the Deputy is required to submit accounts each year.
Laura Gajewska of Pictons Solicitors says “There is however, an easier solution to this complicated, time consuming and costly procedure. You can create legal documents called Lasting Powers of Attorney while you are still well and have the capacity to do so. By taking control, you get to choose your most trusted person whom you would like to manage your affairs for you. You can also let them know how you would like them to do so.
“You can appoint a person or persons called your Attorneys who would handle your affairs in the event of your incapacity, whether mental, or due to illness or accident. You can give them general authority to act on your behalf in connection with your affairs or limit the areas in which they act. Until such time as you do become mentally incapable, you can continue to be in charge of your own affairs and you can revoke the Powers at any time.”
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:-
1. Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney. This allows your Attorney or Attorneys to manage your financial affairs and can be used while you still have your capacity if you so wish.
2. Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. This allows your Attorney or Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf in respect of care and treatment but only at a point in the future when you are unable to make your own decisions. While you retain the capacity to make such decisions about yourself you continue to do so.
Both types of Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used in order to safeguard you from potential abuse.
Laura concludes “Once the Lasting Powers of Attorney have been registered, your Attorneys can manage your affairs on your behalf for as long as necessary. Registration can be revoked if necessary provided you still have the capacity to do so.
“You will all recall situations where elderly friends or relatives have become incapacitated due to conditions such as dementia, a stroke, other serious illnesses or have simply been too frail to deal with their own affairs. Without the proper authority of Lasting Powers of Attorney to deal with that person’s affairs, a great deal of stress and anxiety can be caused to family members at what is already a difficult time.”
As the forms are complicated and the powers they give are wide ranging, we recommend that you seek professional legal advice before proceeding. For further information give us a call on 0845 263 7505 or to email us click here