Lasting Powers of Attorney
Many people may not have a very clear understanding of how their assets might be managed if they lost the capacity to do so themselves, either through physical or mental ill health. On the simplest level card payments and withdrawals should not be made by anyone other than the account holder and could constitute a criminal offence. Managing investments will usually require signatures, as will sale of a property.
With an aging population we are seeing more clients who are seeking a way to manage the financial affairs of a spouse or elderly relatives. The simplest way to do this is for the person themselves to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This must be done while they still have mental capacity. It gives them control over who will be responsible for their financial affairs. Legal safeguards are in place to ensure that the person has mental capacity, is not under pressure to make the LPA and that the Attorney can be called upon to account for their actions and decisions by the Office of the Public Guardian. Up to 4 Attorneys can be appointed, together with replacements.
Forward planning is therefore vital and we often raise LPA’s when we are assisting clients with their wills.
If mental capacity is in doubt it will be necessary to get a doctor’s opinion and they usually charge for this service. If the opinion is that the person does not have mental capacity to make the LPA then an application to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed to manage property and financial affairs may be required. The process is more complicated and expensive than making an LPA and may take choice from the person who needs assistance.
We can assist with Lasting Powers of Attorney for property and financial affairs and health and welfare as well as applications for deputyship to the Court of Protection and if you require any further information please contact Jane Hinds in our Private Client Department on 0116 255 4855 or by e mail firstname.lastname@example.org .