Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney ?
A Power of Attorney enables you to appoint someone to manage your financial affairs if you have difficulty managing them yourself.
I already have a Power of Attorney. Do I need an LPA?
A Power of Attorney, as opposed to an LPA, enables you to appoint someone to manage your financial affairs if you have difficulty managing them yourself. If you have a physical disability, for example. But a Power of Attorney is of limited use because it is only effective so long as you have mental capacity. If you become mentally incapable, then it will come to an end and can no longer be used.
Is an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) the same as an LPA?
In the same way as an LPA the purpose of an EPA is to enable you to appoint attorneys to act on your behalf if you cannot do so, but as of 1 October 2007 EPAs were replaced by LPAs. If you have an EPA which pre-dates 1 October 2007 it remains valid but EPAs can no longer be made.
If you have an existing EPA it is important you have it reviewed to ensure your attorneys are correctly appointed. Bear in mind an EPA can only be registered once you have lost mental capacity. An EPA does not cover health issues and if this is a consideration one of our legal advisors will be happy to discuss this with you at the same time we review your EPA.
When do I need to make an LPA?
It is a common misconception that an LPA is only necessary for elderly people and, while it is correct that more people of advancing years do take out an LPA, an LPA is as equally essential for a young person as it is for an elderly person. The fact is that you could lose mental or physical capacity at any age. Having an LPA in place acts as a safeguard giving you the peace of mind that, were tragedy to strike, you would have given someone you trust the authority to make necessary decisions on your behalf.
What would happen if I lost mental capacity with no LPA in place?
Since you need to have sufficient mental capacity to understand the implications of the LPA at the time it is made it therefore follows that if, for whatever reason, you lack sufficient mental capacity you will be unable to make an LPA.
In such situations it will be necessary to make a formal application to the Court of Protection. If the application to the Court is over a specific matter the Court may choose to make the decision itself or appoint a Deputy to take decisions on your behalf. The Court process can be lengthy and costly running into thousands of pounds and if a Deputy is appointed there will be ongoing costs. And of course you will have no control over the appointment of the Deputy as the appointment will be the Court’s decision. Universal Wealth Preservation have extensive experience dealing with the Court of Protection and acting as Deputies. If a family member has lost mental capacity with no LPA in place and it is likely that an application to the Court of Protection will need to be made, we have the expertise to assist you.
How Universal Wealth Preservation can assist you
An LPA can be very flexible but it is important that you understand the legal implications, not only of making an LPA, but its effect.
As part of our estate planning services we assist clients with the completion of LPAs on a daily basis and can advise you on all the legal formalities. We have extensive experience of guiding clients through the process from taking initial instructions to registering the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.
If you are an attorney in need of legal assistance and/or advice in relation to your duties, we can help you to ensure you act in compliance with the legal obligations incumbent upon you in your capacity as attorney.
If you are considering making an LPA and require assistance with its preparation and registration or would like to review your estate planning arrangements generally, our team of experts are here to assist you. Contact us to arrange a FREE no-obligation home consultation with one of our advisers. We would be happy to discuss your requirements.
If you would like to book your place on one of our forthcoming Keep it in the Family seminars click here.