As people grow older, managing financial affairs can become onerous, particularly where there are a number of different holdings, bank accounts and other investments.
As part of planning for the future, it is advisable to think about who will help you deal with your affairs should you become unable to do so, or should you simply need help, for example if mobility issues prevent you from visiting the bank.
At any stage of your life, it is open to you to create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This is a document which gives your chosen attorney the authority to deal with your financial affairs for you.
Why sign an LPA?
If you should ever lose the capacity to manage your own finances, then it can be a problem if no-one else is authorised to help.
The only way your family will be able to obtain legal authority would be to make an application to the court for a Deputyship Order. This can be an expensive process and usually takes several months. During this time, no-one would be able to act on your behalf, which can cause difficulties in day-to-day financial matters. There is also an associated ongoing annual cost which is considerably higher than the costs of administering an LPA.
When will an LPA be used?
Once an LPA has been signed by you it can be held until needed. It does not come into force immediately.
It can be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and then kept until such time as you lose capacity, or alternatively until you decide that you would like your chosen attorney to help you with your financial affairs.
It is also possible to make an LPA in respect of your health and welfare. You can choose a different attorney, or the same one. A health and welfare LPA would only come into force if you lose capacity.
When to sign an LPA
It is advisable to put an LPA in place sooner rather than later. It doesn’t have to come into force until you are ready.
You will not be able to make an LPA once you have lost capacity. This means that there is a risk involved in leaving it until you are older.
By signing an LPA while you are still able to manage your affairs, you can be sure that if and when the time comes that you need help, your chosen attorney will have the authority they need to act on your behalf.
It will also give you the opportunity to discuss matters with them and ensure they know how you would like them to act.
If you would like help in preparing an LPA, speak to one of our expert lawyers on 01634 353 658 or email us at [email protected].