Most people overlook the importance of having a Lasting Power of Attorney. They assume that if they ever get into the situation where they need help, any close relative or friend can easily take over their finances. However, this is not the case at all. Once you lose the capability to handle your own affairs and have not yet appointed an Attorney, someone cannot just step into place without permission from the Court of Protection. Something that has to be applied for, and it's not fast or cheap.
The Court of Protection can:
• Choose whether someone has the mental capability to make a decision
• Give out an order involving the personal welfare or financial and property dealings of someone who lacks the mental capability to do so
• Assign a deputy to make decisions on behalf of someone who lacks mental capacity.
The roles of a Deputy and an Attorney are quite similar but a Deputy has much less control and authority. The power of a Deputy will be granted by the court and the Deputy must make sure to stay within the limits of that power. The Deputy must also agree to take over in good faith and must not take advantage of their power. A Deputy is also liable to annual fees which can easily mount up to £2500 per year.
On top of this, there is no guarantee that the application for deputyship will be accepted by the Court of Protection. In which case, the local authority is appointed as the last resort and they will receive full authority of your bank accounts, spending, where you live, and what health facilities you get.
This causes much distress, frustration and expense for your family since they will not be able to have any say in your finances and personal welfare. To avoid all such implications, appointing an Attorney should be just as important as making a Will.
Putting an LPA in place in time has many benefits, such as:
· You can be sure that if you are unable to make decisions for yourself in the future, the person you feel most comfortable with will take over your decision-making. This can be a very reassuring thing to witness.
· Assigning an LPA can reduce many problems for the future that your family may encounter, which includes reducing expenses and time-consuming activities to gain a similar power for themselves.
· Making an LPA will ensure that you have entrusted your decision making to someone you trust and know, instead of risking the chances of handing over important decisions to a complete stranger.
If you would like to speak to a local consultant from The Will Associates about the risks of not having an LPA you can contact us on 0800 9500 700 and arrange for a home visit at a time that is convenient for you.