Thinking about Making Your Lasting Powers of Attorney?

By making a lasting power of attorney or (LPA) you can appoint someone you trust to make decisions for you if the need arises. This is the right thing to do if you are concerned that a time may come when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. With dementia being one of the most common illnesses in the UK, an injury, or even a stroke. You have the possibility of losing capacity.

Warning signs might center on forgetfulness e.g. finding it difficult to recall names of your grandchildren or where you have put your car keys. It might be that your spouse is concerned that you are not remembering things s/he thinks you ought too.

It can be too late to make your Lasting Power of Attorney

It is important make your LPA in good time as it can be to late to make one. You cannot make one if you have lost the necessary mental capacity. Somebody i.e. a cerificate provider has to certify you understand what you are doing by making the LPA and what powers you are giving to your nominated attorney or attorneys.

The alternative can be costly, stressful and take a long time to arrange. In England and Wales you can make a Health & Welfare LPA or a Property & Financial Affairs LPA or both. In Northern Ireland you have an enduring power of attorney which mainly focuses on the financial affairs. It depends on your circumstances and your wishes which option suits best. That’s why getting the right advice is important to work out what is right for you.

What actually happens if you lose capacity?

  • Sole and joint bank accounts are frozen
  • No bills payable from frozen accounts
  • Problems dealing with property
  • Decisions on health matters can’t be made
  • 5-8 months or longer to get legal authority to manage affairs

The Court of Protection

If you lose capacity it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed to deal with everyday financial matters. This is a slow and expensive process and there is also an annual fee in most situations of £320 per year. If you use a lawyer it will cost a lot more again.