Growing old can mean problems for us and our loved ones such as:
Loss of mobility or illness can make it difficult to manage your affairs.
The prospect of unpaid bills can cause stress, anxiety and delay someone’s recovery.
Even the young can encounter problems due to accident or illness.
An elderly relative losing capacity is difficult enough for loved ones to deal with, without the added worry that finances are becoming muddled.
What if I am unable to manage my affairs?
There may come a time in your life when you are unable to manage your financial affairs or personal welfare, owing to some form of incapacity and you will need someone to act on your behalf.
Even when we are young, we can find ourselves incapacitated owing to illness or injury and it can be invaluable having a reliable person, who is able to manage your personal affairs and remove the anxiety of having unpaid bills, at a time when you most need peace of mind.
Similarly, as we get older the need for an attorney increases as we are more prone to illness and injuries.
Creating an Attorney in advance, ensures that if the worst were to happen, you can rest assured that both your financial affairs and personal welfare are in safe hands.
So who do I choose?
You can appoint a friend, relative, or a professional as your Attorney. This allows them to act on your behalf.
It is important that you choose who you would like to act on your behalf very carefully. You should choose people you can trust to act in your best interests, giving consideration to how they manage their own affairs. It is always a good idea to appoint more than one Attorney to ensure that this power is not abused.
The different types of Powers of Attorney
You may have heard of an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) and be aware that this was replaced in October 2007. (EPAs set up prior to 1st October 2007 remain valid, however, it should be noted that if the Donor is believed to be becoming, or is mentally incapable of managing their affairs then the Attorney(s) have a duty to register the EPA with the Court of Protection). It cannot be simply assumed that the Donor has lost mental capacity and Attorneys must follow the principles of The Mental Capacity Act 2005. Copies of the Code can be obtained from Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
If you hold an EPA and still have mental capacity and are able to make decisions for yourself (i.e. the EPA is unregistered) you can make a Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to run in conjunction with the EPA.
What has replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney?
The EPA has been replaced with three different documents
1- Lasting Power of Attorney – Property & Financial Affairs
2 – Lasting Power of Attorney – Health & Welfare
3 – A General Power of Attorney
Lasting Power of Attorney – Property & Financial Affairs
A LPA for Property & Financial Affairs authorises the Attorney(s) to make decisions about the Donors (you) property and financial affairs for example, managing a bank or building society account, paying bills, collecting benefits or a pension and selling your home.
Lasting Power of Attorney – Health & Welfare
A LPA for Health & Welfare covers decisions about your personal welfare, for example your daily routine, eg. washing, dressing, eating, your medical care, life-sustaining treatment etc.
It should be noted that Lasting Powers of Attorney have no legal standing until registered with the Office of Public Guardian – After registration the Donor can continue to make decisions providing they still have the mental capacity to do so.
General Power of Attorney
A GPA allows the Attorney(s) to make decisions and act in any matters relating to the Donor’s property and affairs. It is important to note that the Donor remains liable for the actions of the Attorney.
A GPA is effective immediately and will remain in force until it is either cancelled by the Donor or should the Donor become mentally incapable, the General Power is automatically revoked.
If you are interested in being prepared and would like more information, please contact us on 0161 771 2056.
Finance North Estate Planning Services.