April 8, 2020

“I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney” and other common misconceptions. By Emma Wing solicitor with Terry Jones Trusts & Estate department, Shrewsbury.

Having assisted many families to consider and plan for their future there are a number of common responses that show how misunderstood Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are. Here are some of the most commonly held.

“I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney as my spouse/family will look after me”

Whilst it is possible to appoint a family member as a signatory to your bank account. This is only a limited solution as it does not give your family the authority to deal with any of your other financial affairs, it will only be effective whilst you have capacity.

If the bank has concerns about your ability to manage your affairs, this facility will stop and your accounts will be frozen. They will only restore them with a doctor’s report confirming that your capacity is not compromised. Alternatively, they will grant access to your accounts if they receive a valid Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputyship order. A Deputyship order is issued by the Court if an LPA hasn’t been made, they take longer to process and are more expensive than an LPA.

“I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney as I have a joint bank account”

If you lose capacity, you also lose the ability to consent to the joint owner using that account. If your bank becomes aware of your lack of capacity they will freeze the joint account as above.

“I’m fine now and I’ll make a Lasting Power of Attorney later if I need one”

How often have you intended to do something and then it gets forgotten or life takes over and other priorities become more important.

I have lost count of the number of families that ask me to help once their loved one has already started to struggle or can no longer manage; if you have already lost capacity then it is too late for you to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.

“I have no close family to appoint”

You can appoint any adult that you trust to be your attorney. If you have no family or close friends to appoint you could consider appointing a professional of your choosing. If you do not make a choice and lose capacity then Court will make this choice for you; they may appoint someone you would not wish to know about your financial/personal affairs.

Putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place allows you to choose who deals with your financial and/or Health decisions. In the absence of a Power of Attorney a local authority, a Court appointed Solicitor or Social Services could/would be appointed.

“My Will says who will deal with my financial affairs/will get my money”

Your Will deals with who inherits your estate after your death. A LPA deals with decisions about your financial and/or health during your life.

Therefore to fully plan for you and your family‘s future it is important to consider both Powers of Attorney for use during your life and Wills to set out who will receive your estate on your death.

Don’t leave your family without the ability to help you when you and they need it most.

If you have any additional questions on Lasting Powers of Attorney or would like to find out more, please contact me on 01743 218450 or email emma.wing@terry-jones.co.uk

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