Many of you have made or are planning on making a Will, to ensure that your wishes are carried out following your death. However, many people fail to consider what might happen if you need, or would like, help in the future with running your finances, or who might make decisions about your treatment and care if you cannot make them yourself.
Many people think they are “too young” to make a Power of Attorney or that they will make it when they aren’t able to deal with things anymore, which isn’t always an option. In recent years, we have seen first-hand how young household names can quickly and unexpectedly find themselves in situations which compromise their capacity. Take Richard Hammond and Michael Schumacher who have both been involved in accidents which have left them for different periods without mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
If bank accounts and utilities are all in your name, how will they be paid if you lose capacity?
If you own a business, who will be able to access the accounts to pay the staff and invoices?
Who will be able to speak to the doctors and other medical professionals on your behalf?
A Power of Attorney is often seen as an insurance policy – it is there if you need it. You can name people you trust to act on your behalf in the future (your attorneys). The most common type of Power of Attorney is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is the government body which produces the LPA forms and maintains a record of all registered LPAs.
There are two types of LPA – one which covers your property and financial affairs and another for your health and welfare decisions. You can appoint as many attorneys as you like (but consider how it would work in practice if you name more than two or three) and they can be different for each LPA. Attorneys will only make decisions about your health and welfare if you have lost the capacity to do so, but they can assist with managing your property and financial affairs while you have capacity at your discretion and can continue acting on your behalf if you later lose capacity.
If you are considering making an LPA, here are some key points to consider:
At Wolferstans we help many clients to set up LPAs and provide advice to attorneys acting under LPAs. We also have a well-respected Court of Protection team looking after clients who have lost capacity with no LPA in place and who need a Court appointed deputy to manage their affairs. We are privileged to have Samantha Buckthought in this team, who is one of a handful of Court of Protection approved professional Deputies.
Why not come along to a free seminar to learn more about Lasting Powers of Attorney and our top tips for attorneys acting in this role? The next seminar will be held at Plymstock Library on Monday 23rd September at 10:30am.
To reserve your place contact Beth Photiou on 01752 292236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.