Lasting Power of Attorney
If you suffer a stroke, mental illness or have an accident that renders you incapacitated, you may no longer be deemed capable of making financial decisions and your bank accounts will be frozen.
If you leave it too late and capacity is lost then the Office of the Public Guardian will appoint a Court appointed Deputy to manage your affairs. This can be very expensive and upsetting for the family as often this is not a family member and it can take as long as 12 months to arrange.
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), then if for any reason you suddenly become unable to manage your own affairs, e.g.
· You suffer an accident and are confined to bed or hospital
· You suffer a more serious accident which permanently incapacitates you
· You become mentally incapacitated as a result of old age or for some other reason
… then the only way that your financial affairs can be managed is by an application (by a relative or other person close to you) to the Court of Protection. This can take up to 12 months to arrange and cost up to £2,700 to process – during which time your finances could be seriously damaged – and the person authorised to handle your affairs on your behalf is not only unlikely to be who you would have chosen, but may even be a Court Official – who can (and will) charge every time he/she acts for you.
If you have an LPA, your chosen representatives can act for you straight away if you become unable to handle your own affairs or if you become mentally incapacitated.
Note that you must be mentally capable to make an LPA. Therefore – just like a Will – if you don’t have one then by the time you really need one it’s too late.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, one deals with your Property and Financial matters and the other deals with Health and Welfare issues.