Powers of Attorney enable people you trust to look after your affairs if you are unable to handle them yourself.
If you haven’t yet put a Power of Attorney (POA) in place, or you are relying on an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), are you sure that you and those closest to you are protected in the way you would like them to be?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) replaced EPAs in 2007 and these can no longer be made. Whereas EPAs dealt only with financial affairs, LPAs can deal with health and welfare considerations, as well as financial and property matters.
No EPA or LPAs?
If so, have you considered who would be able to make decisions on your behalf if you were to lose capacity through either injury or illness? From a financial viewpoint, unless all assets, bank accounts and utility accounts are held jointly with someone else, it would be wise to have an LPA (Property & Financial Affairs) in place. Trying to get an organisation to interact with someone who isn’t named on an account tends to be almost impossible unless there is a POA. In addition, it can make the sale of your property, even if held jointly, difficult to proceed with.
From a health and welfare viewpoint, who would you want to make decisions for you when you can no longer do for yourself? If you have family members or close friends, putting an LPA (Health & Welfare) in place ensures you can trust the right person(s) to make decisions on your behalf and act in your best interests, given that no medical decision can be made if you do not have capacity to do this yourself without a POA.
Did you make an EPA and are still relying on it?
Under these circumstances, you should ensure that the Attorneys you have chosen still have the mental capacity to act on your behalf should the need arise. You may want to investigate how these work in practice, as well as registration requirements. It may be the case that you benefit from making a Health & Welfare LPA to go alongside it.
Do you already have LPAs?
If so, the only thing you need to check regularly is that the Attorneys you have chosen are still the ones you would wish to act on your behalf and that they are able to do so. You will need to ensure that these have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Would you benefit from an LPA in relation to your business?
If you own and run your business, have you considered having a business-related LPA, which might give a colleague or business partner, rather than a family member the power to act on your behalf?
Many people postpone putting LPAs in place, thinking that they are only relevant for the elderly, which is not the case. Whilst anyone at imminent risk of any form of dementia should certainly have them, younger people should consider LPAs too. Should you need to be in hospital for a prolonged period or have an accident rendering you unable to manage your affairs, then it’s sensible to have a POA in place, especially when families during the pandemic were faced with loved ones suddenly not being able to put their affairs in order as they no legal power of conveying their wishes.
If you would like to discuss your situation, the private client lawyers at Fraser Dawbarns will be happy to help. Contact Seema on 01353 886999 or firstname.lastname@example.org for individual advice.
This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances. Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.
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