Wills & Probate Solicitors in Bimringham & Manchester
There is a generalisation that it is only elderly people who should consider lasting powers of attorney. Even when we are young, we can find ourselves incapacitated owing to illness or injury, and you may need a reliable person who can manage your personal affairs. For this reason it is important that everyone has lasting powers of attorney in place. There is an assumption that if someone was to lose mental capacity, your family can access your money to pay for care. This is not the case and even joint accounts can be frozen.
What are the Benefits?
Lasting Powers of Attorney can enable an individual's family members, friends or a professional to look after their affairs without causing serious disruption or delays.
Since the 1st October 2007 it has no longer been possible for a person to create an Enduring Power of Attorney. However if you have made an Enduring Power of Attorney prior to 1st October 2007 it still remains valid and may be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian.
Lasting Powers of Attorney have replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney but offer the flexibility of covering your financial affairs together with your health and wealth matters.
How does it Work?
Property and financial affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney is for decisions about finances such as selling a residential home and managing your Bank accounts and investments.
A Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney is for decisions about your health and personal welfare, such as choosing where you live i.e. your home or residential care, daily needs or medical treatment.
An Attorney (over the age of 18) is appointed to make decisions on your behalf and must always act in your best interests. You are able to appoint more than one Attorney however you must specify as to whether they should act together or independently.
Before the Lasting Powers of Attorney can be registered it must be signed by the donor, the Attorneys and also the Certificate provider. A Certificate provider is an authorised person that declares that the donor understands the purpose of the Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Once the appropriate signatures have been obtained the Lasting Powers of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used. The Attorneys will then have legal powers to make decisions for you. The Lasting Powers of Attorney can be registered by you or alternatively your Attorney in the event that you no longer have the capacity to do so.
A fee is currently charged for registration of each Lasting Powers of Attorney application. However if your gross annual income is less than £12,000 you may qualify for partial fee exemption or remission. It must be noted that Lasting Powers of Attorney are not available for those who no longer have the capacity to sign a legal document. Your family members or friends would have no option but to make an application to the Court of Protection, which can be a costly process.
How we Can Help?
Our specialist private client solicitors can offer support and advice on all aspects of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Matters such as this can be delicate, getting legal advice can help to ensure that the application process runs smoothly and will help to avoid placing any strain on the relationships with your loved ones.