PROPERTY & FINANCIAL AFFAIRS LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY
What is a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney?
It is a legal document which names the people you trust and want to deal with your Finances and decisions about your property, should you lose mental capacity.
Why is a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney Necessary?
Lasting Powers of Attorney were created under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in order to protect those who have lost mental capacity.
It means that you have legally named the people you trust and want to deal with your financial affairs should you lose mental capacity.
The Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can be used even when you still have the capacity. As an example, one client had a stroke and was housebound though he still had mental capacity. He had an account in his name only with a Building Society. He wanted his wife to draw some money out to buy herself a Christmas present. The Building Society would not let her have the money without his signature. Fortunately, she had a Power of Attorney which gave permission to the Building Society for her to sign to withdraw the money.
If a homeowner loses mental capacity, selling the property without a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney being in place is a difficult, costly and drawn-out process.
Who Makes Decisions if a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney is Not in Place?
There is a body called the Court of Protection. Their role is to safeguard vulnerable people - ie those who have lost mental capacity. Their powers include the ability to freeze all of the assets of the person concerned - whether or not they are married/in a relationship, or have children to look after them.
Assets include joint bank accounts. These can be frozen which prevents partners from getting access to income and savings. This can cause financial hardship for families.
The family has to apply to the Court of Protection for an order giving permission for them to access the savings/investments. This is called being granted Deputyship.
To become a Deputy is costly, with the bill often running into £1,000's. It is also time-consuming and can take up to 5 months. That is 5 months where the family cannot access their own funds. Even once given Deputyship, the family is restricted in how much they can spend and they have to account for all expenditure to the Court of Protection.
Having a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney in place can save a small fortune and a lot of heartache.
When Should I Make My Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney?
Unfortunately, loss of mental capacity can occur at any time, whether by accident, illness or onset of dementia. It does not matter how healthy you are or how young you are. Just as a Will can only be made when you are alive, a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made when you have mental capacity.
The answer to this question is - do not delay, act now.
How Can The Will Associates Help Me?
The Will Associates is one of the leading companies in the country offering specific advice around estate planning. We are a National company with a dedicated legal team in our head office who are specialists in their field.
We have a team of consultants around the country to offer advice in the comfort of your own home at a time to suit you.
Don't delay. Contact us now.