Lasting Power of Attorney Advisors in St Neots, Biggleswade, Huntingdon

A Lasting Power of Attorney (also known as an LPA) is a legal document separate to your Will. It allows you to appoint one or more person to become your Attorney during your lifetime in the event of you losing capacity to make key decisions for you. Often an ‘LPA’ is put in place when writing or reviewing a Will, but it can only be done when a person is capable of fully understanding the effect of the document.
It is wrong to assume that your spouse or children will be able to pick things up and simply take care of things if you are incapacitated. In order to gain the legal right to manage your finances and affairs, families without an LPA have to go to court. They are not just for individuals, as couples can opt for Mirror Lasting Powers of Attorneys as well. Without a LPA there will be no one with the authority to manage your affairs.
Depending on your preference or needs, there are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney. A “Property and Financial Affairs” LPA, and a “Health and Welfare” LPA. They give your Attorneys power to manage your financial affairs on your behalf, to determine where you live, and importantly to decide what medical treatment you receive. Any individual can have both types of LPA or just one depending on preferences and needs.

What can happen if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?

They are not just for old people with dementia!

Why The The 2005 Mental Capacity Act is Important

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives another adult – known as the attorney – the legal authority to manage your affairs on your behalf if you were to become ill or lose capacity to the point where you could not make decisions regarding your own finances and healthcare or welfare.

What does “lacking capacity” mean?

Section 2 of the 2005 Mental Capacity Act states:

“…a person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time he is unable to make a decision for himself in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain”.

How can you “lose capacity” ?

The impairment or disturbance can be permanent or temporary. Anyone of any age can ‘lose capacity’ common causes are:

Accident – Stroke – Dementia

It is vey important to set up an LPA sooner rather than later. Not having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place before you have lost the ability to make decisions for yourself could be both problematic and expensive for all involved.

Accidents, strokes, brain injuries and Parkinson’s disease are common conditions that can also affect someone’s ability to make their own decisions. Handling your financial affairs can become virtually impossible, which is why charities who care for the elderly recommend everyone plans ahead. This could have the dual benefit of saving a great deal of money and easing the burden on your relatives.

For complete peace of mind, you should draw up two separate LPAs: one that covers your financial and property-related affairs, and one that allows you to choose someone to make important decisions about your health requirements and overall welfare. You should also make sure copies of your Lasting Powers of Attorney are stored in a secure facility, as it’s easy for important documents like these to get misfiled and lost.

Why You Would Want a Health & Welfare LPA?

Who do you trust with your life? Because without a ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA if you ‘lost capacity’ someone you don’t know and had never met is exactly who you would get to make decisions about, what you eat, what you wear, your medical care and they would be able to override the wishes of your family in respect of your health & welfare if they felt they needed to!

Here's An Example, Meet Peter

Peter aged 81 has late stage Alzheimer’s, his family cannot look after him, so he lives in a nursing home. Then Peter is diagnosed with a brain tumour, of course he is unaware of this as he lacks the capacity to understand. Peter had always said to his family that if ever he had cancer he never wanted to ‘undergo any serious operation’ or chemotherapy! He was very adamant about this.

But because Peter had not made a ‘Health and Welfare’ Lasting Power of Attorney the people in charge of his care decided against the pleas of Peter’s family and gave the hospital the permission to operate on Peter’s brain, remove the tumour, and give him 3 months or gruelling chemotherapy and radiation.

It saved Peter’s life, but he lived on for a miserable 4 years, further debilitated by the surgery, weakened by the chemotherapy and when he died he was completely confused and in a near vegetative state! If Peter had made a ‘Health and Welfare’ Lasting Power of Attorney appointing his wife and daughters as his attorneys they would have had the ‘power to refuse’ the lifesaving treatment that Peter had, which would have allowed Peter to die peacefully.

Steps Without a ‘Property & Finance’ LPA

An incapacity scenario step by step…

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DAY 1:

Tom aged 68 has multiple strokes. Later his family is told he will never fully recover.
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DAY 9:

All bank accounts and investments with Tom’s Name on are ‘frozen’ including the joint account, his wife Fiona is unable to sign or act on Tom’s behalf.
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DAY 10:

Fiona needs to make an application to the ‘Court of Protection’ but must borrow money from her Son as their joint bank account is frozen, the total cost of This application is between £2,000 & £3,000 and will take 3 to 4 months to get an answer.
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DAY 11:

Fiona cannot access savings and is unable to pay Household bills, her son comes to her financial aid again.
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DAY 14:

Fiona must establish a new bank account in her own name to receive her personal pension That was previously paid into the frozen joint account.
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DAY 30:

Due to Tom’s physical situation there is an urgent Need to move to a bungalow, but this cannot happen as Fiona Is unable to sign for her husband, so she will have to wait for the ‘Court of Protection’s decision on her application.
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DAY 118:

‘Court of Protection’ tells Fiona how much she can write out a cheque for, Fiona must keep detailed accounts and make regular reports to the Court there will be more fees for different reports estimated at £1,500 each year.
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DAY 116:

The ‘Court of Protection’ makes its ruling, Fiona will be made ‘deputy’ but firstly she must take out a £275,000 guarantee bond to protect her own husband’s assets against her mismanagement, cost £550 each year.

FACT: All of this will go on day in and day out, every month of every year until Fiona’s husband Tom dies.

The other real tragedy behind this story is that Fiona and Tom knew that they could have made Lasting Powers of Attorney for a few hundred pounds and could have avoided all the stress, intrusion & bureaucracy from the ‘Court of Protection’, but time and time again they put off deciding until Tom was struck down and the decision was taken away from them. This is happening in thousands of homes in England & Wales today.

Meet Jean, She Was Horrified!

My name is Jean

This is Jean, she and her husband David both are 73, they DID consider making ‘Lasting Powers of Attorney’ (LPAs) but wrongly concluded that they were only for old people with DEMENTIA, and would leave it for now,

This is what happened. David had a serious stroke and although he eventually left hospital to live at home, he had lost his capacity as defined by the 2005 Mental Capacity Act and could not make financial decisions.

Jean, desperate for money to raise funds to reorganise the house and pay for David’s carers made enquiries about EQUITY RELEASE but was horrified to find out that as she and David owned the house jointly, David was not allowed to sign because of his condition and Jean could not sign for David because there were no LPA’s in place. Jean’s only option was to apply to the ‘Court of Protection’ to get permission and become a Deputy for the court to obtain the equity release, the legal costs & fees were over £2,000 and it took nearly 2 years to sort out, what a nightmare.

Furthermore, Jean had to continually deal with The Office of the Public Guardian they charge yearly fees of up to £1500 to supervise the activities of the deputy even if they are a family member.

Every year the deputy must make reports to the Court of Protection to provide details of how the client is cared for and any big decisions you have made or are planning to make. And so, it goes on… It is much easier to make your ‘Lasting Powers of Attorney’ now.
 


Here is a summary of the typical costs to make an application to become a deputy.

£770 application fees for both types of LPA

+ £320 Yearly supervision fee

+ £1000 Yearly security bond
(Property & Finance LPA only)

+ If you seek legal help then the solicitor’s fees are typically.

+ £900 + vat for both types of Deputyship Order.

+ £300 for potential medical assessment fees.

There are two types of LPA:

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

A “Property and Financial Affairs” LPA allows your loved ones to deal with paying your bills, buying and selling your property and managing your bank accounts and investments.

Health and Welfare LPA

A “Health and Welfare” LPA covers decisions about health and care and even deciding where you are to live. This can only be used if someone is incapable of dealing with such matters themselves.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives another adult – known as the attorney – the legal authority to manage your affairs on your behalf if you were to become ill or lose capacity to the point where you could not make decisions regarding your own finances and healthcare or welfare.

In these difficult circumstances, you would understandably want your spouse, partner or children to take care of you. However, if you do not have an LPA in place, there is no guarantee that your preferred choices of family members will have the authority to take charge.

It is vey important to set up an LPA sooner rather than later. Not having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place before you have lost the ability to make decisions for yourself could be both problematic and expensive for all involved.

Accidents, strokes, brain injuries and Parkinson’s disease are common conditions that can also affect someone’s ability to make their own decisions. Handling your financial affairs can become virtually impossible, which is why charities who care for the elderly recommend everyone plans ahead. This could have the dual benefit of saving a great deal of money and easing the burden on your relatives.

For complete peace of mind, you should draw up two separate LPAs: one that covers your financial and property-related affairs, and one that allows you to choose someone to make important decisions about your health requirements and overall welfare. You should also make sure copies of your Lasting Powers of Attorney are stored in a secure facility, as it’s easy for important documents like these to get misfiled and lost.

What happens if you don’t have an LPA in place?

If you lose capacity, and you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney, your loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy who can manage your affairs for you.

It’s a very long frustrating procedure that can often take anywhere between 6 and 12 months – and one that your family shouldn’t have to endure at what is already likely to be a stressful and upsetting time.

Who should you appoint as your attorney?

It’s a difficult decision – but a vital one. When choosing your attorney, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you trust your attorney to act in your best interests?
  • Has your attorney got a good track record when it comes to managing finances and making life-changing decisions?
  • Would you benefit from appointing multiple attorneys who can work together on your behalf?
  • Would you prefer to appoint a professional body in place of somebody who is close to you? It is possible for a solicitor to take on this role instead?
Set up your LPAs now and make the right arrangements and your family won’t need to worry later. The best time to make a Lasting Power of Attorney is when you are still working, and young enough to benefit from the security it can offer your family and friends – but you can start the process at any time, as long as you are of sound mind. Remember, too, that the LPA will only come into action if you lose mental capacity due to illnesses or injury (for example, from a stroke, or through dementia).

It’s especially important to register a Lasting Power of Attorney if there is a history of mental or physical illness in your family, or you work in a hazardous environment.

Cost of Lasting Powers of Attorney

2 Lasting Powers of Attorney for each person £375 the pair – Fixed Fee
(1 for Property & Finance & 1 for Health & Welfare)
Fees to register your LPAs are an extra £82 each

For a FREE Lasting Power of Attorney consultation get in touch

Your consultation is arranged at your convenience in your home within the St Neots, Biggleswade, Huntingdon area, and further afield in the UK we can arrange an initial consultation for you by telephone.