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Wills & Probate
Lasting Powers of Attorney and why you should make one now.
Why should I make a Last Power of Attorney?
Lasting Powers of Attorney are extremely helpful. They enable someone you trust to have legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. This might be due to you losing mental capacity, or simply that you need a bit of extra help managing your affairs.
Life is full of the unexpected and we simply do not know what is around the corner. If someone loses capacity before they are able to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, loved ones are then being left having to take on the arduous task of applying to become that person’s Deputy via the Court of Protection – an expensive and laboursome process in itself which requires annual fees and supervision of the Court.
Can I continue to make my own decisions?
Making and registering a LPA in advance does not take away your ability to manage your own affairs. So long as you have mental capacity to make decisions for yourself, you can continue to do so.
The LPA for Property and Finance can allow your attorneys to make financial decisions while you still have mental capacity, but they should only do so if it is with your consent.
The rules for the Health and Welfare LPA are slightly different – your attorneys can only make decisions about these things on your behalf if you are no longer able to make the decisions yourself.
You can also revoke the LPA at any time and for any reason (assuming you still have mental capacity).
By putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you can have peace of mind in knowing that someone that you trust will be able to look after you and your affairs if you are ever unable to do so for yourself.
What if someone abuses their power as attorney?
If someone suspects that an attorney is abusing their position and acting outside the scope of their powers or failing to make decisions that is within your best interests, they can report their concerns to the Office of the Public Guardian.
An attorney could be asked to explain why they have taken the steps that they have or made a certain decision, and they could be asked to produce documents including bank statements, or medical papers.
Where the Office of Public Guardian agree that an attorney’s behaviour falls below par, they can direct the attorney to take specific action to address the concerns that have been raised. In serious cases they can also ask the Court of Protection to intervene or make a referral to the police.
It is never too early to plan for later life. The wonderful thing about making an LPA is that it can be made and registered many years in advance, and then put to one side until it is need. It can them be used immediately when the need arises, and you don’t face the stress of delays.
In order to be effective, it is important that the documents are correctly created and do not contain conflicting information. If the Lasting Powers of Attorney fail to comply with prescribed formalities, then they may not be valid. Call us today for expert advice and let us help you make provisions that could really make life easier in the future.
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