Sadly, both physical and mental wellbeing has suffered for many over the last few years with covid-19, lockdown, pressures with the cost of living and more recently pressures on the NHS, Ambulance and Social Care services. They are under increasing pressure to deliver services and we as people need to make plans just in case we lose physical or mental capacity and are unable to look after our own affairs or make our own health care decisions.
Sadly, this week we attended a close friend’s funeral and the above combined with our friend’s funeral has prompted us to publish 3 videos this week offering 10 reasons to have life insurance, wills, and lasting powers of attorney.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney that can be made and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (part of the Court of Protection):
1. Ability to Manage Money and Affairs
If you lose physical or mental capacity, your loved ones will struggle to look after your savings, pensions, investments and more. It may even mean your loved ones struggle financially if they cannot access your money. By not making Lasting Powers of Attorney, your loved ones would need to apply to the Court of Protection who will eventually appoint a deputy. Which may a stranger and not a family member of friend to look after your affairs. By making lasting powers of attorney you make sure your affairs can be managed in your best interests.
2. You Choose Your Attorneys
You decide who will be your attorneys and given the power to look after your health and your wealth should you lose physical or mental capacity. This can be family, friends, or professionals.
3. Legally Binding
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents that are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). LPAs are legally binding on all parties and your attorneys are legally required to act in your best interests. By making LPAs, you can be confident in that your health and wealth will be looked after properly.
4. Use Only When Needed
LPAs are in force from day 1 of being registered with the OPG. This does not mean you lose control of your affairs. Your attorney’s can use the LPAs only when needed. For example, if you had an accident and was in hospital for a long period, your attorneys could act for you immediately but as soon as you are physically able again, you take back control. The same for mental capacity. If your have mental issues or say dementia, there may be periods when you are lucid and can look after your affairs and other periods when you cannot, and your attorneys can help you.
5. Business Protection and Continuity
If you are self employed or own and run a limited company or business, attorneys can help the business to continue trading, keep employees in jobs and even ensure that the business bank account can be accessed to process income, pay expenses and wages. Even the legal side of tax returns, annual report and accounts, payroll submission, VAT returns. Every business owner should plan for their business to trade or even wind down via an LPA.
6. Protected by Law
The Mental Capacity Act allows you to appoint attorneys to act for you under an LPA. Your attorney does not have to be a lawyer or someone with specialist knowledge, but all appointed attorneys are governed by, and you are protected by the law. It can even mean that certain actions cannot be taken without attorney’s seeking permission from the OPG such as an attorney wishing to sell your home to pay for care fees rather than buying a holiday home in Spain.
7. Save Money on Costs
The costs to make Lasting Powers of Attorney via a professional such as a financial adviser or lawyer should be around £500-£600 for doing both the health and wealth LPAs. Unless you are on a low income or benefits, you will currently have to pay a fee of £82 per LPA to register them with the OPG. This means a total fee to have two LPAs of between £654 to £754. You can set up an online account with the OPG and create your own LPAs at no charge and then only pay £164. If you have not made LPAs and you lose physical or mental capacity, an application to the OPG and going through the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy could cost £900 + VAT in legal fees plus £400 in Court fees. It makes financial sense to do LPAs as soon as possible.
8. Peace of Mind
By making LPAs and appointing attorneys, you can be secure in the knowledge that you are in control, have appointed who you wish to look after your medical decisions and or your financial affairs should you lose capacity.
9. Change at Any Time
You can change, amend, or even cancel Lasting Powers of Attorney at any time. Circumstances do change so you can be confident that you can change attorneys or change the powers that they have if you need to.
10. The Future Is Unknown
Accidents do happen. None of us can predict the future as it is not certain. If something were to happen and you lose capacity, you need to be confident that you have appointed the people that you trust to look after you and your affairs within the rules that you have outlined. Appointing attorneys will make it easier for loved ones to look after your affairs when you cannot.
We consider LPAs as important if not more important than a Will as this is looking after you or your affairs whilst you are alive. Talk to us about making Lasting Powers of Attorney.