AMD Solicitors advises why you should consider Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
No one likes having decisions made for them. It takes away the independence that we strive for, but many people do not consider what would happen if they could not make decisions about their affairs for themselves.
Prior to October 2007 legal effect was given to your wishes to appoint someone to act on your behalf by completing an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).
In 2007, in conjunction with the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Office of the Public Guardian amended this EPA process to a more protective one. One reason for this was that the Mental Capacity Act changed the emphasis of the power from allowing the attorneys to make all of the decisions over the donor’s affairs, to insisting that the attorneys assist the donor in making decisions for themselves.
The LPA must be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian to be registered before it can be used. The completed form can either be kept safe and then registered at a later date, or registered straight away and this decision is dependent on how you feel about managing your affairs at that time.
Whilst the LPA procedure is not entirely straightforward the alternative is far from desirable. Without an LPA, if you lose the ability to deal with your affairs any person can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed “deputy” to deal with your affairs on your behalf. Not only having lost capacity, you have forgone your right to make your own choice of who you thought was the best or most trusted person to deal with your affairs for you. On average applications take several months and official figures released show that in the first 18 months of its life the new Court of Protection
received 1500 complaints over the way they handled matters!
In conclusion, if your independence and decision making ability is important to you consider taking professional advice to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney, formally appointing those people that you feel are suitable to manage your affairs if you are not able to do so.
Claire is a member of the Probate, Wills and Trust team at AMD Solicitors. AMD offer an entirely free review of your current situation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on 0117 9621205.
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