Have you ever thought about what would happen if you were unable to manage your own affairs?
According to the Alzheimer’s Society 800,000 people suffer with dementia in the UK today and 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will go on to develop dementia.
Whilst dementia is the most common cause of loss of mental capacity; illness, injury and mental health difficulties can occur at any age, rendering a person unable to cope with the day to day running of their affairs.
Many people believe that their family members would look after things should they become unable to manage. However, in practice, this is not the case as basic things, such as paying bills or collecting a pension can only be carried out by another party where express authority has been given.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to appoint a trusted friend, relative or professional person (such as your solicitor) to make decisions on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA; a ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA and a ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your chosen attorney to make more personal decisions relating to your general health and well being, such as living arrangements, medical treatment etc. This type of LPA only comes into force when you lack the mental capacity to make such decisions yourself.
The more widely used Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives your attorney permission to manage your finances if you are unable to do so. The document is registered with the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) at outset and it is your choice as to whether it is used straight away, perhaps for convenience, or only in the event of you losing mental capacity.
Your attorney may act in isolation or jointly with others and should always act in your best interests.
LPAs replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) in October 2007. EPAs did not cover Health and Welfare issues but enabled your attorney to manage your finances if you became unable to do so. EPAs made before October 2007 are still valid.
What happens if you do not have a valid EPA or LPA?
If you lose mental capacity without having put an EPA or LPA in place, your relatives would have to apply to the Court of Protection for permission to look after your financial affairs. This can be onerous and costly at what is already likely to be a difficult and upsetting time and can delay access to funds when they are needed most.
LPAs are therefore invaluable both in practical terms and in terms of the peace of mind they provide for you and your loved ones.
We work with a select group of Solicitors who specialise in this area and we can direct you to the most local to you. Following our recommendation the Solicitor will discuss your needs with you and will prepare the required documentation at a competitive cost.
Please contact Springfield on 01772 729742 for further information.