Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs - Planning Forward to Stay in Control
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is a forward-planning tool to help you stay in control of your finances come what may.
The time to create a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is in the prime of life, when you are fit and well and have assets and property which you want to be able to manage easily, whatever the future may bring.
A Lasting Power of Attorney enables you to nominate a person, or people, you trust, to stand in for you when necessary in making decisions, signing documents and dealing with officials, in matters relating to your money and property. The people you nominate become your Attorneys.
You can set up your Lasting Power of Attorney so that your Attorneys can stand in for you if you lose mental capacity – the ability to think or speak up for yourself. As we live longer, sadly, our mental faculties aren’t always lasting the distance. So it’s reassuring to have someone close to you, who can step in on your behalf if you can’t manage your finances anymore.
You can also make a Lasting Power of Attorney even more useful to you, by giving your Attorneys the power to stand in for you, with your consent, at any time, whether you have mental capacity or not. This can be very helpful, because it means your Attorneys are available to stand in for you, for example if you’re abroad on holiday and need someone to sign documents or liaise with officials for you while you’re away.
The practical consequences of losing mental capacity without having appointed an attorney can be overwhelming. Nobody automatically has the authority to take care of your affairs for you if you lose the ability to manage them for yourself, not even your spouse. Consequently, losing capacity can mean that even simple things like managing your bank account and paying your bills day to day become very difficult indeed.
The only way someone close to you can intervene on your behalf without a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is by applying to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy. But this process is long-winded, stressful and expensive. Multiple lengthy forms have to be meticulously filled out, a medical report has to be obtained and a total of £900.00 has to be paid out in Court Fees. Many people engage a solicitor to do this for them, and the solicitors’ fee can round into the thousands. The process takes 6-10 months, culminating in a daunting court hearing. And the heartache and expense doesn't end there. Every year, your Deputy must pay a fee (currently £320.00) and submit a set of forms and financial accounts to the Court of Protection, to prove they are doing their job properly.
The way to protect yourself and those closest to you from this difficulty, is by taking action while you are fit and well to create a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs.
Appointing an Attorney
To create a Lasting Power of Attorney, you must make a signed declaration that you understand what you are doing, and that you are appointing your Attorneys of your own free will. Your declaration must be witnessed.
Your chosen Attorneys must also sign a declaration, that they understand the responsibilities that come with being an Attorney, and that they will accept that responsibility for you if and when the time comes.
An independent person must certify that you know and understand what it means to create a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs, and that you are doing so freely. That person, referred to as the Certificate Provider, must be a legally or medically qualified, or must have known you personally for at least two years.
Finally, another person who knows you well must be served with a formal notification that you are creating and registering this document.
Once those formalities have been observed, your Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Only when it is registered will it be valid.
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs costs £540.00 for a single person and £795.00 (less than £400 each) for a couple.
Making two Lasting Powers of Attorney – one for Health and Welfare and one for Property and Financial Affairs – costs £795 for a single person and £1195 (less than £600 each) for a couple.
The Office of the Public Guardian also levies a fee of £82.00 to register each Lasting Power of Attorney you make.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is included in our Budget Estate Plan, our Budget Plus Estate Plan, our Intermediate Estate Plan and our Comprehensive Estate Plan.
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