Why we should all have a Lasting Power of Attorney Grant in place
According to the Alzheimer’s Society by the year 2025 more than 1 million people in Britain will be suffering with dementia. One in five people over 85 already has it, with women twice as likely to be sufferers than men. If you are unfortunate enough to be one of those who are diagnosed with this awful disease you will find that your financial affairs will become virtually impossible to manage - this is why so many charities who care for the elderly are now recommending that everyone plans ahead so as to ease the potential burden on our relatives.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives your chosen representative the legal authority to take care of your financial affairs or make decisions regarding your health and welfare if you are unable to yourself.
By arranging an LPA now, should you later become mentally or physically incapacitated, your chosen attorney will be able to avoid the long delays and expense that relatives without LPA grants usually suffer when applying to the court of protection to be appointed as deputies so they can get access and take control of your assets and finances for you.
Typically it costs £400 to register as a deputy plus legal fees which can be £1,000 or more. In addition, deputies also have to pay an initial charge of £100 and then on going supervision fees, which depending on the supervision level can be up to £320 a year.
In contrast our fees for arranging and registering 2 LPAs for you is just £491.60 inc vat and OPG registration fees and should you qualify for a fee exemption (you are on means tested benefits) it will be just £327.60 inc v.a.t. or if you qualify for a fee reduction (your income is less than £12,000 a year) it will be just £409.60 inc v.a.t. LPAs are designed to be recognised by financial institutions, care homes and local authorities, as well as tax, benefits and pension authorities. It is a good idea to arrange one and maybe update your Will at the same time.
There are two types of LPA - a Property and Finance LPA which covers financial decisions and a Health and Welfare LPA that covers decisions about your healthcare.
A Health and Welfare LPA can only be used when you have lost mental capacity and would be used to make decisions about where you lived, the type of medical treatment you received, your diet and who had contact with you for example. A Property and Financial affairs LPA on the other hand can also be used while you still have mental capacity but are physically incapacitated and unable to write cheques, make phone calls or go to the bank for example.
You should only choose someone you really trust as your attorney as it is a serious responsibility. They must make all decisions in your best interests and they are duty bound to follow the guidelines set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
WHO CAN BE YOUR ATTORNEY
Your attorney can be anyone 18 or over, such as:
- a relative
- a friend
- a professional, e.g. a solicitor
- your husband, wife or partner
You must appoint someone who has the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
When choosing an attorney, think about:
- how well they look after their own affairs, e.g. their finances
- how well you know them
- if you trust them to make decisions in your best interests
- how happy they will be to make decisions for you
You cannot choose someone for your Property and Finance Lasting Power of Attorney who is subject to a debt relief order or someone who is bankrupt.
You are able to restrict the sort of decisions your attorney can make for you or you can allow them to make all decisions on your behalf.
We can either register your LPAs now or hold them until your chosen attorney says you need them and register them at that time. The benefit in doing this is that it avoids having to pay £82 to register a Power with the Office of the Public Guardian now (£328 for a couple having 2 powers each) that might never actually be needed or could be exempt from registration fees altogether in the future.
The key is to have completed and signed all the relevant paperwork and appointed your attorneys while you still have mental capacity so that your chosen attorneys can activate your instructions whenever they may be needed in the future.
With our life expectancy increasing year on year the need for LPAs in the future will significantly increase, so don’t get caught out at your time of need - ensure that your loved ones are saved from a lot of hassle and expense by giving us a quick call now on 01903 649021 to find out just how simple it is to arrange this very important protection.