Client Newsletter

Are you protected against a loss of mental capacity due to accident or illness?

Protect your wealth and future by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney.

In late 2020, the Partners of TWP formed a new company; The Surrey Probate Practice Ltd, as a joint venture with Wendy Amos, who has been practicing in this area of law for more than 12 years.

We are now able to offer private client services to our clients, including wills, lasting power of attorney and non-contentious probate. This means that we can provide holistic advice on our clients’ estate planning needs and, with our expertise, provide support to our clients’ families when administering non-contentious estates.

The benefits of drawing up a will are widely recognised. In doing so, you make provision for the winding up of your affairs after death. This not only has advantages for those who will find themselves administering your estate, but also gives you peace of mind, knowing that you have selected as executors the individuals best suited for the role and have given them the necessary instructions.

The benefits of taking out insurance against our lives or critical illness are also widely recognised to provide us with an income when we may not be able to work or provide a lump sum to our loved ones if we are no longer around to provide for them.

But it seems we do not discuss often enough of the possibility of becoming incapable of managing our own financial affairs and personal welfare during our lifetime. This becomes increasingly important as the risk of mental incapacity grows through longevity, accident or illness.

For this reason, it is advised to make a Lasting Power of Attorney while we are fit and able to do so.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) is a legal document (a deed) that allows you to appoint someone to be your ‘attorney’; someone to make decisions on your behalf at a time when you may not able to do so yourself.

There are two types of LPA to manage different decisions:

Property & Financial Affairs

This allows your attorney the legal authority to act on your behalf in relation to managing decisions concerning your property and finances, such as;

  • Managing household bills;
  • Opening, closing and operating bank accounts;
  • buying and selling property;
  • Claiming, receiving and using your benefits, pensions, and allowances.

Health & Welfare

This allows your attorney the legal authority to make decisions in relation to your personal welfare, which includes;

  • giving or refusing consent to particular types of health care, including medical treatment;
  • staying in your own home, perhaps with help and support from social services;
  • moving into residential housing and choosing the right care home for you;
  • day-to-day issues, like your diet, dress, or daily routine;
  • with who you should be in contact and responding to personal correspondence, etc.

The benefits of planning in advance

Suffering an accident or illness can change life in an instant, whatever your age.

A common misconception is that LPAs are only for the elderly or infirm. Often, many leave it too late believing they have plenty of time to do it or are simply ‘too young’ and don’t need it. Sadly, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While we are young, fit and able bodied is the perfect time to consider making LPAs, to put safeguards in place in case of an unexpected loss of mental capacity with the hope they will never need be used.

Having an LPA in place is a safe and cost-effective way of maintaining control over decisions made for you, whereby you choose:

  • the decisions you want made on your behalf if/when you lose capacity to make them yourself;
  • the person(s) you want to make these decisions;
  • how you want the person(s) to make these decisions.

Attorneys are under a strict legal duty to only act in your best interest.  LPAs are particularly useful for family to assist an elderly relative manage their financial affairs or have a say in healthcare issues without costly court intervention.

If you lose mental capacity at some point in you life – for whatever reason – and you haven’t completed an LPA, then other people, such as your family, will need to apply to the Court of Protection to obtain authority (known as a Deputy) to be able to make any decision on your behalf.

LPAs & the banking code

Beware! If you are a joint bank account holder and the other joint account holder becomes mentally incapable, you do not automatically have the right to access the account unless you have a finance LPA, a valid Enduring Power of Attorney (these were available before the introduction of LPAs in 2007) or an order from the Court of Protection.

Summary

In summary, by choosing today who you would want to make decisions for you, puts you in control of decisions that may eventually be made on your behalf.

Get in touch with our friendly team today to see how we can help you put these important legal documents in place. Call us on 01483 958500 or email wendy@thesurreyprobatepractice.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.