One of our professional partners, Greenwoods GRM LLP explains why it is so important to make Lasting Powers of Attorney. Kerri Pellington-Woodrow, a Partner from their Private Client Team writes:
Many of us will be affected by physical or mental incapacity at some stage in our lives. Having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place makes life much easier for both you and your loved ones.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) is a legal document that enables you (whilst you have mental capacity) to choose someone you trust to act as your attorney to make decisions on your behalf. It must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Two types of LPAs
1. Property & Financial Affairs
Your attorney can manage your finances and property either when you have, or when you lack, mental capacity. This includes paying your bills, investing your money or selling your home. You can give your attorneys authority to act on your behalf either once the LPA is registered, or only if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
2. Health & Welfare
Only when you lack mental capacity can your attorney make decisions about your healthcare and personal welfare such as where you will live, day to day care and medical treatment. You can also authorise your attorney to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment on your behalf.
Who can make an LPA?
Anyone aged 18 years or over who has the capacity to do so can make an LPA appointing one or more persons to act as their attorneys.
Who can act as my Attorney?
Your attorneys should be people you trust who are aged 18 or over and are not bankrupt. You can appoint one or more attorneys and it is also possible to appoint replacement attorneys. Replacement attorneys are people you can appoint to act in place of an attorney who is no longer able to or does not wish to continue as an attorney.
It is advisable to appoint two attorneys or, if that is not possible, one attorney and a replacement. This then covers the times that an attorney is on holiday or is no longer able to act as your attorney for whatever reason.
What happens if I need help but have no LPA?
If, as a result of not planning ahead, you do not have LPAs, and there is a need for someone to deal with your affairs, a Court application must be made. This is extremely time consuming and costly. In the meantime, no-one can assist you with your financial affairs, or make decisions about your health and welfare, causing unnecessary extra pressure and stress to all concerned.
What should you do now?
Everyone should have an LPA in place - regardless of age or health. If your requirements are straightforward and the appointment of attorneys is not likely to be controversial, you may wish to complete the LPA forms yourself using the on-line service. However, if you would like to restrict how your attorneys can act and when they can act, or take general advice in relation to financial planning, we would recommend taking advice from a solicitor, in conjunction with an independent financial advisor, to avoid problems later.
For more information and advice on preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney please contact Kerri Pellington-Woodrow +44 (0)1733 887675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Whilst Greenwoods GRM LLP stands by the views and advice given in this article, the fact that two situations are rarely the same means that you should seek legal advice before relying on its contents.
About Greenwoods GRM
The Greenwoods GRM ethos is simple. Technically astute lawyers provide focused, pragmatic straightforward advice based on a clear understanding of client objectives.
This is backed up with a straight-talking approach to costs.
Through putting clients at the heart of what they do, being team players and managing their business well they deliver a seamless, high quality service. This is what makes them different.
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About Martin-Redman Partners
We are a team of experienced Financial Advisers who can advise on your personal or business financial arrangements. We have been building trusted relationships with clients for many years by articulating clear and tailored recommendations in areas ranging from investments to retirement planning, to complex estate planning advice.
We offer expert independent financial advice throughout Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Suffolk, East Anglia and the South East. Many of our clients are within, or are in the surrounding areas of Cambridge, Grantham, Stamford, Bury St Edmunds, Frinton on Sea, Ely, Peterborough, Huntingdon, Cambourne, Newmarket, Soham and Oundle.
The information contained is for guidance only and does not constitute financial advice. It is based on our understanding of UK legislation, whether proposed or in force, and market practice at the time of writing. Levels, bases and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change. Accordingly, no responsibility can be assumed by Martin-Redman Partners its officers or employees, for any loss in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction.