29 Dec 2022
  • One of the reasons to have an LPA is to look after your family

Why is a Lasting Power of Attorney a Good Idea?

When considering planning financially for the future, there are so many options to consider. Most importantly, you need to ask yourself – which one works best for you?

Providing that much-needed security and stability for loved ones during distressing times if you should lose mental capacity, what you do now can impact how they cope later.

An option is to create a Lasting Power of Attorney, giving you assurances that your personal matters are handled by those you know and trust.

One of our senior solicitors in the Wills, Probate and Trust department, Nicola Sharp, discussed this topic in the Carents Room podcast.

What is an LPA?

Nicola said: “A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which can be used as a tool to help a person have a say in what will happen with their affairs if they lose their mental capacity in future.

“These documents allow a person to select, while they still have their mental capacity, who they would like to look after their affairs in the event they are unable to act for themselves in the future.

“There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney: one for Property and Financial Affairs - which would cover selling a property, access to bank accounts and payment of bills - and one for Health and Welfare, which covers where you were to live if you couldn’t live at home and the type of care you receive.”

What would happen if you didn’t have an LPA?

She continues: “If someone does not have an LPA, they have lost their own mental capacity and their finances need to be managed then an application to the court of protection will be required to obtain a Deputyship Order.

“In order to make an LPA a person needs to have the mental capacity to understand the nature and effect of creating the document so if mental capacity has been lost, this is not possible and the only way for finances to be managed is through an order of the court.

“The costs for this are fixed by the court at £950 + VAT for Solicitors fees and a £371 application fee payable to the court, so they are significantly more expensive than LPAs and currently the courts have such a backlog they are taking towards a year to be returned complete.

“The need for this order is most common when a person has moved into residential care and the costs of the care need to be paid for, either from a person’s savings which cannot be accessed or from the sale of a property which again cannot be done if the person has lost their mental capacity.

“In both circumstances, the local authority will expect an application to be made for a Deputyship Order in order for the action to be taken to allow the fees to be paid.”

What would you recommend when selecting Attorneys?

Nicola concludes: “I always explain to clients the rights and responsibilities an Attorney has which are set out within the Mental Capacity Act and highlight these to the Attorneys themselves too to ensure they are happy to act.

“Attorneys must act in line with these principles but they should always be someone you trust to manage your affairs for you.

“In terms of how many to choose, it depends on how many people you would trust to take on the role; you want to have enough people selected to ensure if something had happened to any of those people you wouldn’t be left without an LPA as your Attorneys had all predeceased, but at the same time you do not wish to appoint someone you would not trust to take on the role.”

How can Winns help?

The team at Winns are dedicated, compassionate legal professionals who have decades of experience in matters relating to Wills, Probates, and Trusts. By giving them a no-obligation call, they’ll be able to offer personalised advice based on your unique circumstances and potentially help you prepare your finances for the future.

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