November 28, 2016

Lasting Power of Attorney – planning for the future

Dementia can strike unexpectedly and does not exclusively affect the elderly. A diagnosis can be particularly devastating for the friends and family of the individual who face both the emotional toll and the practical problems that can arise from this disease.

Imagine it was your family member who suddenly lost the ability to deal with their financial affairs. Without forward planning, you could find yourself in a position where although they may have money, it is inaccessible and you are unable to make arrangements on their behalf.

In order to gain the authority to manage their financial affairs you would need to make a lengthy and costly application to the Court of Protection for permission to become a Deputy. A Deputyship application can be costly and it can take over 6 months to complete the application, in which time significant financial difficulties can arise. For example, your relative may have outstanding bills to pay which end up accruing interest or fines for late payment or you may need to purchase items on their behalf but do not have access to the funds to cover these purchases. Scenarios such as these can lead to financial hardship for the family of the affected person.

So what’s the alternative?

None of us like to consider the prospect of becoming unable to manage our own affairs however a bit of forward planning can make life significantly easier for your loved ones in the event of you losing mental capacity unexpectedly.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to choose who you would like to manage your financial affairs and/or welfare decisions and to provide guidance as to how you would like them to go about this. The application including court fees for two LPAs dealing with both financial and welfare related decisions typically costs less than half the cost of a Deputyship application. This legal appointment of an attorney can be registered before you lose capacity and so your attorney will have the authority to deal with your affairs immediately should the need arise. Making an LPA gives you the peace of mind that your family will be able to act in your best interests without the worry and cost of a lengthy legal process to deal with.

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