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Were You Prepared for the ‘Beast from the East’?
It is not always easy to prepare for the unexpected, as I am sure many of us found last week when the storm dubbed ‘the beast from the east’ hit much of the UK.
In spite of the severe weather warnings issued by the Met Office, many of us were caught out and were not prepared for the bad weather. Those who were, eventually, able to venture out to the supermarkets to stock up on the essentials were greeted by empty shelves and returned home disappointed.
It can also be said that it is important to be prepared for unexpected circumstances when dealing with your own financial affairs and health and welfare. Whilst most people will agree that it is important to have a Will in place to deal with their estate, it is equally as important to make sure that there are mechanisms in place to help you deal with your financial affairs now and in the future.
This is where Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) come in to play. LPAs are invaluable for those of us who want some help with dealing with our affairs now or for those who may need some help in the future. A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you, the donor, to appoint others, such as family or close friends to make decisions on your behalf, either with your consent or only when you do not have capacity to manage your own affairs. Two types of LPAs are available: one for property and financial affairs and the other for health and welfare decisions.
It is a sad fact that as the population gets older there are increasing numbers of those who will lose the ability to make decisions about their financial affairs and health and welfare themselves. It is almost impossible to predict whether this may affect any one of us in the future and so preparing for this now will inevitably make life easier for us and our loved ones in the future and often LPAs are put in place long before they are ever used.
It is not just help in the future that you may need. You may find that there are circumstances where it would be useful if you could have some assistance with dealing with your finances even whilst you are able to make decisions for yourself. For example, you may be going on holiday for a long period of time and would like someone to be able to deal with your finances in your absence or you may, simply, be unable to make it out to the bank and would like someone with authority to deal with your bank on your behalf. Whatever the circumstances, it is never too early to put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.
What happens if I don’t have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place?
If, you lose mental capacity and cannot make decisions yourself and do not have an LPA in place, then someone, usually a close family member, will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your deputy. This type of application to the court is both costly and lengthy. Solicitor’s fees for dealing with the application will be much higher than those for dealing with the preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney and the court application fee for an LPA is £82 (per document) whereas the court fee for to appoint a deputy is £400.
Don’t leave things to chance! Get in touch with our Wealth Management team who are experts in advising about Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship applications.