powers of attorney
Powers of attorney ensure you are looked after when you no longer can or want to look after yourself. Whether created out of necessity or convenience, it’s important to appoint attorneys correctly.
Contents for Powers of Attorney
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Lasting powers of attorney, or LPAs, allow others to look after you when you are no longer in a position to do so. They are used most often by the elderly to delegate access to their finances and affairs, normally to family members or close friends, to enable them to look after you. This is normally for reasons of mobility or convenience.
However, lasting powers of attorney are also useful for those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. They ensure if your memory is impaired in any way, or if you lose mental capacity, that you can still be looked after in line with your wishes.
You should know…
There are two types of lasting powers of attorney:
1. A property and affairs LPA assists you in making decisions regarding your finances and property. Attorneys can maintain or sell property on your behalf if it becomes necessary and handle your finances on a day-to-day basis.
2. A health and welfare LPA allows others to make important decisions about where you live, as well as your health, including the type, level and calibre of care you receive. This includes things like palliative treatment and decisions on whether or not to continue treatment in life-threatening situations.
What is Mental Capacity?
When it comes to powers of attorney, a person’s mental capacity is your ability to make sound decisions and to understand the impact of those decisions. Mental capacity is crucial when talking about lasting powers of attorney because if you lose mental capacity, you can no longer appoint attorneys to look after you.
Given those who have lost mental capacity are at their most vulnerable, LPAs can make sure you are looked after the way you would want to be.
However, losing mental capacity is not the only reason to appoint an LPA. You may become less mobile or need to enter care accommodation, your signature may become shaky, leading it to be questioned by your bank, or you may need to be in hospital for a period of time.
Can I Still Appoint A power of attorney If I Lose Mental Capacity?
You cannot appoint a lasting power of attorney once you have lost mental capacity. Instead, anyone who wants access to your affairs will need to apply for what’s called deputyship through the Court of Protection.
This process is expensive, typically costing in excess of £2,000, and applications normally take around 9 months to be approved.
Furthermore, you won’t have the ability to choose whose application for deputyship is successful. It could be someone you don’t trust.
If you have bills to pay, an outstanding mortgage, or other financial burdens that are not getting paid while the Court of Protection makes its decision, these may get worse in the time it takes for the deputyship to be approved.
how can A Lawyer Help You?
It isn’t too difficult to fill in and submit the documents required to appoint a lasting power of attorney. The complexities arise when you have multiple preferences (things you hope your attorneys will do) and instructions (things your attorneys must do).
If you are struggling to complete the applications, our network of partner lawyers can advise you on what to do, and what options may be suitable for you, depending on your situation.
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