Do you have a crystal ball? Can you guarantee that you will go through your life without any accidents, illnesses or hiccups? Maybe not but how old should you be to think about what would happen if anything did happen to you?

 

Imagine being a new adult….18 years old with great health and a long and exciting life ahead of you – setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney may be the last thing on your mind! It is a difficult situation to think about and discuss what would happen if our mental faculties were shattered, but it would be a much more difficult situation if this happened without having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. The key thing to remember is that you are only able to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney whilst you have mental capacity, so it makes perfect sense to do this now.

 

It is widely assumed that in the unfortunate case of something happening to you, your spouse or closest family member automatically has the rights to take care of you, your health and welfare and your finances and assets. However, this is not the case.

  • Although you may not consider the benefits of having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place sooner rather than later, consider the following situations- would you like this to happen to you and your family if you were to lose capacity due to illness or accident and did not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place:
  • Your family would need to pay for an application to the court to be appointed as a Deputy. The cost of this would be in the region of around £3-4k and can take between 6-12 months to complete.
  • Because you have no Attorney in place, your bank accounts will be frozen- your Deputy will need to fund the application themselves until they are appointed and the application can be paid- does your estate have sufficient funds to cover this application? Would you want your family to have to foot this bill and find the money to make the court application?
  • Any bills that need paying cannot be paid- until a Deputy is appointed, the service providers will not speak to anyone regarding your accounts and they will remain unpaid- sometimes proceeding to the County Court in the absence of communication from you.
  • A Deputy needs to undergo rigorously and often quite intrusive financial and background checks to ensure their suitability as your Deputy and they need to keep tight financial records and report to the court every year to prove their ability to remain as your Deputy. This may require the services of an accountant every year to keep and maintain your accounts- if your estate does not cover this cost, this may need to be paid at the expense of your Deputy.
  • Health and Welfare decisions would be in jeopardy- health professionals are increasingly required to withhold health and welfare information from anyone who is not appointed as either a Deputy or has a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. This could be very frustrating for loved ones, particularly if they know that you would prefer things to be done in a particular way, live in a particular place, wear particular clothes, eat a particular food and so on. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, your family could be helpless to speak to health care professionals and make decisions about your health for you in accordance with your wishes and personality.
  • If the court rejects the Deputy’s application, the local authority may be appointed to manage your finances, and therefore it is highly unlikely that all decisions made will be in your best interest.

 

By setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney now, you will have the benefit of the following:

  • You will have full control over the decision of who will manage your finances and can appoint who you believe will be the best person for this – mum and dad, sisters and brothers. In the absence of a Lasting Power of Attorney, you will have no choice in this and the court will appoint those who they consider suitable following strict guidelines and intrusive financial checks on applicants
  • Your loved ones can talk to your doctors or healthcare professionals on your behalf, knowing who you are, your personality and your preferences.
  • Reduces financial and emotional burdens on your loved ones as they are able to deal with your affairs quicker, and preventing the need for a court application. If you have lost capacity, your loved ones will have plenty to deal with in looking after you- the last thing they will want to deal with is an expensive court application and a drawn-out legal procedure.
  • It is a legally binding document- your attorneys can only ever act in your best interests under the Mental Capacity Act
  • You will have peace of mind that you and your finances will be properly taken care of by the people you know and trust.

For further information on Lasting Power of Attorney, contact Hexagon Life Planning Service Ltd on 0800 610 1131 or email us at info@hexagonlps.co.uk.

 

Our team provide life planning services to clients across the North West.  To find out more contact us on 

0800 610 1131 or send an email