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It’s Not Just About Getting Old…

Posted by: Mim ClaridgeApr30

Although it is said that one person in the UK develops dementia every three minutes, the fact of the matter is that many people lose capacity through accidents or other health conditions which occur unexpectedly.

It’s not just about getting old…

The most common conditions relating to a lack of capacity are:

  • stroke
  • coma
  • delirium
  • concussion
  • severe mental health problems
  • neuro-disability/brain injury
  • alcohol and drug misuse
  • Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia

You cannot assume that if you were to lose capacity your relatives would automatically have the power to deal with your finances/welfare without having a Power of Attorney in place.  Once your banks and other financial institutions find out that you’ve lost capacity, they will freeze your accounts (including joint accounts) and assets.

The key is to get a Lasting Power of Attorney before you need it!

 

So what is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

Admittedly, it’s not fun thinking about (or talking about) losing your faculties, but for many people in the UK, it is a fact of life. 

If you are having difficulty making decisions, or you need help managing your finances, you must prepare a legal document for a trusted family member or friend to help look after your affairs. If you lose capacity, your family members cannot simply walk into a bank and pull out money for you!
They must hold a registered legal document, known as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in order to do so, or obtain a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection. It can be both costly and time consuming to obtain a Deputyship Order, which is not helpful if monies need to be paid out on your behalf, or decisions must be made urgently.

The Health and Welfare and/or Property and Affairs

Mention an LPA and many people will automatically think of a person’s finances – but there are two types to consider:

  • health and welfare
  • finance and property

In a nutshell, the health and welfare document allows a nominated individual to make decisions over day-to-day healthcare and medical treatments, as well as deal with any health and social care staff. Whereas, the finance and property document allows a nominated individual to pay your bills, sell your property, withdraw money from your accounts, and see to your day-to-day finances.

Additionally, the health and welfare document cannot be used unless or until a person has actually lost capacity. In contrast,  when you make the application for the finance and property document, you decide at that time whether or not you want your attorneys to be able to make decisions before and/or after you lose capacity.

Do you already have an LPA?

If you paid to register a Power of Attorney in England or Wales between April 2013 and March 2017, you may now be due a refund of up to £54 on the registration fee. Some 1.7 million applications are thought to have been affected – click the link below to see how to claim back the money owed to you:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/power-of-attorney#refund

Kristen Woods, Solicitor

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