The world is becoming ever increasingly aware of the problems that many of us and our loved ones will face due to mental incapacity.
One way in which you can protect your assets and give your loved ones the authority they need to look after you and your assets in such circumstances, is to prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney.
There are many reasons why Lasting Powers of Attorney are crucial documents to have in place but here are our top five:
1) You can choose who you wish to act on your behalf
You are therefore in control of this important appointment to enable you to appoint the appropriate person/people you trust.
If you do not make a Lasting Power of Attorney then an application is made to Court for a Deputy to be appointed. You will have no choice in the appointment of the Deputy.
2) You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs or a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare, or both
You can decide which of these documents are appropriate for you and your circumstances.
Previously, under the old system of Enduring Powers of Attorney, you could only ever appoint an attorney to act in respect of your Property & Financial Affairs.
3) A Lasting Power of Attorney is valid as soon as it is completed and can be used once it is registered with the Court
(please note however, that the Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare can only be used once you lack capacity).
If you have a General Power of Attorney, these are only valid until you lose mental capacity when it will cease to be valid- just when you need it the most!
4) Once the Lasting Powers of Attorney is in place then there will be no ongoing need for your attorneys to report to the Court or pay any ongoing fees
If a deputy is appointed because you did not have a Lasting Power of Attorney then your deputy will be required to provide a report to the Court on an annual basis and there will be an annual Court fee.
5) The Court fee has been reduced from £110 to £82!
Take advantage of this reduction.
The most important thing in respect of Lasting Powers of Attorney is that you act early. Once you lose mental capacity then you will be unable to make Lasting Powers of Attorney. The only option is then for your loved ones to apply to the Court to have a deputy appointed.
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Chat to the Author, Sophie Shirley
Chartered Legal Executive, Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate, Cambridge officeMeet Sophie