Why a Lasting Power Of Attorney Is Essential For Carers

According to figures from Carers UK, around one in eight adults in the UK acts as a carer for a loved one. That’s a massive 6.5 million people in total, and that’s only set to continue to grow in the coming years. Every day a further 6,000 people take on caring responsibilities, with the total likely to pass nine million by 2037.

However, a recent survey by YouGov on behalf of Carers Trust has highlighted the lack of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) agreements in place for carers. The survey found that a massive 82% of respondents had not made an LPA, while even among those who had there were concerning gaps in the understanding of the different types of LPA.

But in truth, an LPA is a sensible move in these circumstances. LPAs allow an appointed ‘attorney’ to make certain decisions on behalf of someone if they are no longer able to make those decisions for themselves. They come in two distinct forms – a property and financial affairs LPA, and a health and welfare LPA – though you can go for a combined version which encompasses both.

Having an LPA in place can make life much easier for carers. For example, it may be that the person you care for needs to make changes to their home in order to continue living there, such as the installation of a ramp for wheelchair access. Without an LPA, the carer would not be able to use your money to pay for that ramp, so may end up turning to expensive credit, adding to their worries.

Carers are often best placed to know exactly what is best for the people they care for and what decisions they would make if they still had the ability to do so. An LPA empowers carers to make just those decisions with confidence.

Jon O’Brien our Power of Attorney specialist said: “Millions of people act as carers for loved ones across the nation, which can be a stressful role at the best of times. But without an LPA in place, it can make looking after that loved one so much harder. Arranging an LPA is very simple, inexpensive and can deliver peace of mind.”

Read more here about making a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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MAKING PLANS TODAY FOR TOMORROW

Why risk everything you’ve worked for?

Most good chess players rely on having a strong strategy in place to increase their chances of beating their opponent and winning the tournament. In life, the same rules apply and those who take the time to plan ahead succeed. All your hard earned assets could be lost if you don’t make the time today to put some simple planning in place.

Wills – Many people put off making a Will for a variety of reasons, but the harsh truth is that you can put off making a Will until it’s too late, causing all kinds of problems for the people you leave behind and end up giving some, or all of your inheritance, to the wrong people or even the State!

Trusts – Using Trusts are an important part of any estate planning strategy and not only for the very wealthy if you want to protect your hard earned assets after you are gone, for future generations against attack from, Remarriage, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Long Term Care and Inheritance Tax.

Lasting Powers of Attorney – Managing your own affairs can be difficult later in life, or you could become seriously ill or even have an accident. Who would look after your financial affairs then? Who would make decisions for you regarding your medical treatment, living arrangements or care? Creating Lasting Powers of Attorney in advance, ensures that if the worst were to happen both your financial affairs and personal welfare are in safe hands.

Funeral Plans – Free your loved ones from the financial and emotional burdens of paying for and organising your Funeral after you are gone. Act now to ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you would want, and also freeze the cost of your funeral at todays prices.

Probate – Many people choose relatives or close friends as their Executors but this can be a difficult and time consuming job, at a time when they may not feel up to the task. Appointing a professional Executor in your Will ensures that your estate is dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. Fixed costs at the outset, along with a dedicated team of sympathetic and expert case handlers on hand ensures that the entire process is stress free.

Prepare for the game ahead with us and ensure that you and your loved ones are protected, for more information please call us on 0161 771 2056 or email us at help@FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk, or simply enter your details below and one of our consultants will contact you.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Cheshire Office – 0161 771 2056
Staffordshire Office 01782 963 303

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How to prevent things going wrong with your Lasting Power of Attorney

With dementia continuing to rise, the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) cannot be overstated. An LPA can be a vital tool, giving a friend, loved one or solicitor the power to make decisions on your behalf should you reach a position where you are unable to.

Safeguards are built into them to ensure they are used appropriately, but there are steps you can take to ensure things do not go wrong.

Choose the right attorney

If you want to prevent any future issues with an LPA, then choosing the right attorney at the outset is crucial. There are many duties involved in acting as an attorney for someone, so you need to pick someone responsible and organised, as well as someone who knows you well and can be trusted to act in your best interests.

You may want to select more than one attorney – this will make abuse of the powers associated with an LPA much harder.

If you do choose more than one attorney, you can set out whether they need to act together or separately for certain issues.

Informing loved ones

One important safeguard is the fact that the ‘donor’ (the person handing over their powers to their attorney) can name up to five people who must be informed before the LPA is registered. It’s important to do this – these loved ones can then step in and dispute the registration, should they believe that the donor was put under undue pressure or the attorney is set to behave in an inappropriate way

It’s a good idea to speak to your friends and loved ones who aren’t named on the document in advance of organising an LPA too. You can explain why you are doing it and how you want the powers to be used – this can help reduce the chances of fraud and should also reduce the chances of conflict between family members later on.

Guidance

Another safeguard is the ability for donors to have certain guidance for the attorney written into the LPA. For example, this may suggest that they meet a couple of times a year to go through bank details and discuss financial arrangements for the next six months. This should also make it harder for any fraud to take place.

Organising an LPA can give you peace of mind that you will have someone you trust making decisions for you, should you lose the ability to do so.

Choosing the right attorney, and getting the right LPA in place, can take some time, but it is time well spent.

If you’re struggling to choose an LPA or would like advice on how to appoint one, feel free to get in touch with us at Finance North Estate Planning Services on one of the numbers below.

Cheshire Office: 0161 771 2056 or Staffordshire Office: 01782 963 303

Or simply complete you details below and one of our consultants will call you back.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Pole Farm Cottage, Pole Lane, Antrobus, Cheshire, CW9 6NN
The Dudson Centre, Hope Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5DD

www.FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk

Before You Forget…

At breakfast this morning, a woman said to her husband: “My memory is getting really poor, I went upstairs yesterday to get something and by the time I got to the top of the stairs I had forgotten what I was going for.” 

The husband said: “How bad is your memory?”

 She responded: “Sorry, what were we talking about?”

Old jokes are always the best, but early signs of a loss of memory are an uncomfortable reminder of the aging process and certainly no joke.  Some of us will inevitably get dementia or other debilitating conditions that could result in the loss of mental capacity.

Do you know what happens if you or your partner becomes unable to make decisions for themselves due to old-age memory issues or dementia? Potentially you can find yourself in a position where you cannot pay for services or make decisions, without lawyers and something called the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) being involved. It’s an expensive and long-winded process. That is, unless you have written a legal document called a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in advance of your loss of mental capacity.

The Citizens Advice Bureau website says:

You should make an LPA if you have been diagnosed with, or think you might develop, an illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself at some time in the future.

“The kinds of illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself include:

  • dementia
  • mental health problems
  • brain injury
  • alcohol or drug misuse
  • the side-effects of medical treatment
  • any other illness or disability.

“You must make an LPA whilst you are still capable of making decisions for yourself. This is called having mental capacity”

At Finance North Estate Planning, we are experts in writing Lasting Powers of Attorney and talking you through the pitfalls. Whilst no one wants to think about the potential of problems in later life, writing an LPA could save you and your family considerable cost and grief in the not too distant future.

Call us today on 0161 771 2056 for a no obligation discussion about these issues. Or complete your details below and one of our consultants will call you.

Finance North Estate Planning
Offices in Cheshire & Staffordshire

“Simply Good Business Sense”

If you are a business owner, director, partner or a sole trader, protecting the future of your business with a Lasting Power of Attorney is simply a must!

What is a Business Lasting Power of Attorney

 A BLPA is a powerful legal document which allows a Business Owner (Donor) to appoint persons of their own choice (Attorneys), to look after their business affairs. It can be used if they no longer wish to make these decisions, or lack the capacity to manage their business affairs themselves.

 Why do I need a BLPA?

The main objective of any Sole Trader, Partner or Company Director is to ensure the efficient running of their business. With daily decisions to be made, staff to pay and suppliers to meet, it is imperative that somebody is able to fulfil their duties if they should be taken ill or become mentally incapable.

If you can’t continue to run your business, either through being physically or mentally incapable, (or by simply being out of the country for long periods of time) it is important that somebody has the authority to act on your behalf in relation to your business interests.

  • Salaries
    Bank accounts may not be accessible. Salaries and bonuses could therefore go unpaid; this may cause undue hardship for the employees and their families.
  • Suppliers
    With a signatory unable to sign on the business bank accounts, suppliers may not be paid and cash withdrawn therefore suppliers are left without payment and refuse to send further products.
  • Contracts
    Without your signature, the business could be prevented from entering new contracts, paying invoices, buying stock and authorising sales.
  • Banks
    Most banks place limitations on accounts when they become aware that an    account holder has lost capacity.
  • HMRC
    Without your signature, the business may not be able to pay its creditors as above, this could include HMRC.

Won’t my business partner/family member(s) be able to just run things for me?

You may think that your family, friends, or business partners can help run the company if anything should happen to you. Unfortunately this may not be the case. Without a BLPA it would be for the Court of Protection to decide who is best placed to make decisions on your behalf. This process can take months and be very costly, in the meantime your business may struggle to survive.

It will be the Court of Protection who decides who the best person to deal with your affairs is. What happens if that person is not business minded, or doesn’t work well with the remaining business partners? Would you, or your business partner, want the business being run by a stranger?

A Business Lasting Power of Attorney is a simple, cost effective legal document that allows you to choose the best person to run your business.

A Business Lasting Power of Attorney only comes into force when it is needed. It should be safely stored away and registered in the event of a critical illness or accident. It can even be used in the event of a lesser injury which temporarily prevents someone from dealing with their business affairs.

How we can help?

Having to face the prospect of being unable to deal with your own business affairs can be daunting for us all, but failing to act NOW and plan for this eventuality can lead to your business suffering unduly.

We understand that the process of dealing with the business affairs of someone who has lost capacity can be very difficult. Our dedicated team of professionals have vast experience in dealing with both the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection and provide both a professional yet personal service throughout, while still offering our clients extremely competitive rates.

Speak to our team today at Finance North Estate Planning Services, call 0161 771 2056 or complete the form below and one of our consultants will contact you to discuss your requirments.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
Offices in Cheshire & Stoke on Trent

 

Make A Good Decision in 2017

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia knocked heart disease off the top of the list for main causes of death in England and Wales for the first time. Here at Finance North Estate Planning Services we offer advice on planning for the future.

In 2015, 61,686 out of a total of 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales were attributable to dementia, according to a report just published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – that’s 11.6%.  The mortality rate for dementia has more than doubled since 2010 and the Alzheimer’s Society estimates that one million people will have the condition in the UK by 2025.

This statistic raises important questions for families around writing wills. When a person is diagnosed with dementia, it’s a good idea to get their legal and financial affairs in order and give a friend or relative lasting power of attorney. This helps in the future in case there is a point when the dementia sufferer can’t make decisions for themselves.

Indeed, the Alzheimer’s Society recommends this in its ‘Planning Ahead’ guidebook for people with dementia: “Once you have had a chance to adjust to your diagnosis, take time to ensure your affairs are in order.

It may become more difficult for you to make decision or choices about financial or legal matters as time goes on. Where possible, make these plans as early as you can with a trusted friend, family member or professional (choose someone who is likely to be able to support you as time goes on).”

One of the most important aspects of forward planning for everyone, particularly if dementia runs in the family is to investigate making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA enables someone to choose who they want to make decisions for them, should they become unable. Those decisions could be around their financial and property concerns or their health and welfare. This may also cover deciding whether they should go into a care home.

If a person with dementia hasn’t made an LPA and loses the ability to make decisions, the situation for loved ones can be complicated – and distressing. In the case of financial decisions, for example, only someone with a formal legal power can completely manage another person’s affairs. So if a dementia sufferer hasn’t made an LPA, their loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become their deputy in order to manage finances on their behalf. It’s doable but it can be stressful and time consuming.

There are two separate categories of LPA – one around finances and another around health and care. Each has to be set up individually, and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Lots of people use professionals to help navigate LPA forms as they are binding legal documents, and your wishes or those of your loved ones have to be drafted carefully.

Here at Finance North Estate Planning Services we can help you write your LPA so give us a call now on 0161 771 2056 or complete the form below for advice on ensuring that, as the number of people suffering with dementia rises, you and your loved ones know you’re protected should decision making become difficult.

Finance North Estate Planning Services
help@financenortheps.co.uk
Offices in Cheshire & Staffordshire