There are several misconceptions around Lasting Powers of Attorney. When our clients are planning for the future, we tend to hear the following statements, which show how misunderstood Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) can be.
You can appoint a family member as a signatory to your bank account, which will grant them access to that designated account for paying or making transactions. This is a limited solution as it does not give your family the authority to deal with any of your other financial matters.
This solution will only be effective whilst you have capacity. If the bank has concerns about your ability to manage your affairs, this facility will stop and your accounts will be frozen. Access to your accounts will be restored when you can present a doctor’s report confirming that your capacity is not compromised. Alternatively, banks will grant access to your accounts if they receive a valid Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputyship order. A Deputyship order is issued by the Court if an LPA hasn’t been made; Deputyship orders take longer to process and are more expensive than an LPA.
In the unfortunate event that you lose capacity, you also lose the ability to consent to the joint owner using that account. If your bank becomes aware of your lack of capacity they will freeze the joint account and no one will be able to access the account. They will only unfreeze if the circumstances mentioned above.
A Lasting Power of Attorney gives someone permission to make decisions on your health, welfare, properties and finances. Because of the gravity that this document possesses, it needs to be made while you have full capacity.
We are often approached by families that ask for help once their loved one has already started to struggle or can no longer manage; if you have already lost capacity then it is too late for you to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. The onus then falls to your family for them to apply for Deputyship.
You do not need to appoint a family member, you can appoint any adult that you trust to be your attorney. If you do not make a choice and later lose capacity, then Court will make this choice for you. This could mean the appointment of someone you would not wish to know about your financial/personal affairs.
Putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place allows you to choose who deals with your financial and/or Health decisions. In the absence of a Power of Attorney a local authority, a Court appointed Solicitor or Social Services could/would be appointed.
Your Will documents who inherits your estate after your death, however, an LPA deals with decisions about your financial and/or health during your life.
In order to prepare for the future effectively, it is important to consider both Powers of Attorney for use during your life (should you lost capacity) and a Will to set out who will receive your estate on your death.
If you become unwell, or suffer an accident, your family and friends will undoubtedly be under additional pressure and stress. Having an LPA in place, limits that stress and ensures they are able to support you when you need it.
Don’t leave your family without the ability to help you when you and they need it most.
If you have any additional questions on Lasting Powers of Attorney or would like to find out more, please contact us on 02392 98 1000 or email email@example.com
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