Many of us worry that as we grow older, we will become too ill or confused to handle our own affairs. We often have to turn to friends and relatives for help. These kind of informal arrangements do not work if someone is abruptly or seriously ill. It is wise to consider giving a Power of Attorney in good time to a relative, close friend, solicitor or other professional advisor.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document in which you appoint someone else to deal with either your financial affairs or health and welfare arrangements for you.
You do not need to give up total control of your affairs unless you wish to. You can continue to look after your affairs for as long as you can; the appointment of an Attorney simply means that there is someone to take over if and when you can no longer cope.
Attorneys under a Finance and Property LPA can act for you as soon as you wish, provided the power has been registered. They could therefore manage your bank account, pay bills and deal with all routine aspects of your finances. Their powers do extend to more major transactions for example, the sale of your property, or dealing with investments. You can tailor their powers to suit your individual circumstances, but this is something we will discuss very carefully with you.
Health and Welfare attorneys can only act for you if you reach the stage when you lack capacity to make such decisions yourself. A Health and Welfare LPA can allow your attorneys to decide where you should live, and to make decisions about medical care on your behalf. They can also extend to making life sustaining treatment decisions, if the power allows that.
If a person becomes too unwell to manage their affairs and does not have a LPA in place, it will be necessary for someone to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their Deputy, in order to manage their finances. We can advise on this procedure and the relevant practicalities.
To speak to a specialist within the Wills & Estate Planning team, please contact us on 01522 512123 (Lincoln) or 01636 673743 (Newark).