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The Power of Attorney
If you had a serious accident or stroke, or you developed dementia, you may not be able to manage your finances or make decisions about your care. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives someone of your choice the ability to act on your behalf, should you be unable to act yourself.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – one for financial decisions (including property) and the other for health and care decisions. Both must be registered before they are valid. This guide explains why everyone aged 18 or older should have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney, and how you can go about making them.
If you have any questions or would like to book a free appointment, just call our team on 08700 120 130 or email email@example.com. Our headquarters are in Nottingham and we have offices across the UK.
“Why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?”
Dementia, stroke or brain injury due to an accident can affect people of any age. We associate losing mental capacity with old age but in fact, this can affect anybody at any point during their life. For example, did you know:
- One in four strokes in the UK happen in people under the age of 65 (Stroke Association)
- An estimated 42,000 people under the age of 65 in the UK have dementia – more than 5 per cent of all those with dementia (Alzheimer’s Society)
- Accidents can affect anybody at any time, rendering them unable to manage their affairs.
Many people assume that their partner will automatically be able to take over handling their finances and make decisions for them, but this is not the case. Sometimes the bank will even freeze a joint account and refuse to allow access to funds when one party becomes incapacitated – even if the funds are needed to pay for their care.
Everyone aged 18 or over should have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney in place. Rather than leave the choice of who will be making decisions for you to chance, you can make a Lasting Power of Attorney now and decide for yourself who you’d like to be in charge of your affairs.
This is one reason why making a Lasting Power of Attorney and nominating someone you trust to manage your affairs is a sensible choice. Obtaining a Deputyship Order is a long, complex and often intrusive process. It is also expensive. There are application fees, assessment fees, legal fees and potentially hearing fees, plus an ongoing annual supervision fee.
The best advice is, don’t let it get to this stage. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is a much simpler, cheaper and quicker way to elect somebody you trust to manage your affairs should you be unable to do so yourself.
What happens if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?”
Applying for a Deputyship Order is a long, complex and expensive process. If you do lose mental capacity and you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney, someone will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a “Deputyship Order”. The person who applies may not be the person you would have chosen yourself. The application process is lengthy and expensive.
Once an order is granted, that person (who is called a ‘Deputy’) can make decisions for you, which might include:
- Paying bills and expenses on your behalf.
- Deciding how your day is organised.
- Deciding how you receive care.
- Deciding if your home will be sold.
The Deputy must always act in your best interests, but abuse does happen – including theft, fraud, misuse of property, possessions or benefits, undue pressure and neglect (OPG, 2015).