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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

In short a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to nominate one or more people to act on your behalf if you are unable or unwilling to do so.

There are two types of LPA:

A "Property and Financial Affairs" LPA allows your chosen attorneys to deal with paying your bills, buying and selling your property and managing your bank accounts and investments.

A "Health and Welfare" LPA allows decisions about your health and care if you are unable to make them yourself. This can cover such aspects as where you live, the type of care you receive and the care provider. You are also able to give them the power to accept or refuse medical treatment on your behalf.

What happens if I don’t have a LPA?

If there is no Lasting Power of Attorney in place when mental capacity is lost then a family member, friend or solicitor will have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy.

The following shows an example of what can happen when Incapacity strikes and there is no Lasting Power of Attorney in place:

DAY 1

David 63 has multiple strokes.

DAY 4

Family told he will never fully recover.

DAY 9

All bank accounts, etc with David’s name on, including joint accounts are “frozen”. His wife Fiona is unable to sign or act on husband’s behalf. She needs to make an application to the Court of Protection. Total cost will be approx £2,000 to £3,000 and will take 3-4 months.

DAY 10

Unable to finance application as she cannot access savings. Income now restricted and is unable to pay all the household bills. Son comes to her aid and funds Court application and provides £300 per month toward household bills whilst court application progresses.

DAY 15

Fiona has to establish a new bank account in own name as her own pension is paid in to a frozen joint account which she cannot access.

DAY 30

Due to husband’s physical situation there is urgent need to move to a bungalow. This cannot happen as she is unable to sign for husband and so Fiona will have to wait for her Court application to succeed.

DAY 116

Court makes it’s ruling. She will be made “deputy” but first she must take out £275,000 guarantee bond to protect her own husband’s assets against her mismanagement! Cost £550 pa.

DAY 118

Court tells her how much she can write a cheque out for. Must keep detailed accounts and make regular reports to the Court. There will be fees for the different reports and Court requests.

All this will go on day in day out, until her husband either recovers or dies.

The other real tragedy behind this story is that Fiona and David knew full well that they could have organised LPAs for a fraction of the cost charged by the Court of Protection, and so avoided all the stress and intrusion. But time and time again they put off making a decision until David was struck down and that decision was taken away from them.

At Farsight Wills we offer various options to enable people to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. Our fees are fixed and presented in writing before we undertake any work. We take the time to discuss your options and are also happy to talk things through with your proposed Attorneys if they wish to do so.

If you would like further information on Lasting Power of Attorney, the Court of Protection or any similar topics please feel free to contact us. We have offices based in Swindon town centre. Alternatively we are always happy to arrange a free home visit or have an initial chat on the phone.

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