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Our latest guest blog comes from Gail Hall, Partner of Warners Solicitors in Tonbridge. Gail offers her clients practical experience and advice to clients who need help arranging their inheritance and estate planning affairs. She advises on Wills, probate, inheritance tax, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection issues.
Here Gail advises on the importance of planning ahead and making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
No one likes to think of a time when they are unable to look after their own finances and well-being, however, for many, this may become a reality.
Deputy or LPA?
When someone becomes unable to make decisions for themselves one way of dealing with this is for a family member, a friend or a professional Deputy to apply to the Court of Protection for what is called a Deputyship Order. In these circumstances, the Court will consider the application and will appoint someone to act on behalf of the person in question as a Deputy.
The whole process of applying to be a Deputy can be quite lengthy with various forms to complete along with the need to provide an assessment of capacity. The assessment of capacity is completed by the donor’s doctor. All in all, as well as being a costly process, it can also take several months to complete. This may cause problems if decisions need to be made and be effected quickly, such as the sale of a property.
After a Deputy has been appointed, there will be on-going supervision fees, insurance and the need for a Deputy to submit an annual report.
Benefits of a LPA
A way to avoid this process is for you to plan ahead and make lasting powers of attorney (LPAs). Attorneys appointed under an LPA do not have to submit annual reports to the Court for assessment although keeping records is advisable. No general on-going fees would be payable in the general administration of your affairs.
Making LPAs also means that you are able to choose and authorise exactly who you would like to act on your behalf in making the various decisions in the event that you lose the mental capacity to make them yourself. This could save your relatives or friends worry and potential disagreements on deciding who should apply to be a Deputy.
Types of LPA
There are two types of LPA. One deals with property and financial affairs and the other deals with health and welfare.
A property and financial affairs LPA gives the attorney the power to make decisions about financial and property matters including selling a house, managing a bank account, selling and buying shares and investments.
A health and welfare LPA gives the attorney the power to make decisions about health and personal welfare such as day to day care, medical treatment and where someone should live.
The costs of completing the lasting power of attorney forms and registering the documents at the Office of the Public Guardian start at £650 plus VAT. In addition to these fees there is a Court fee of £82 per application to register an LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.
While creating and registering LPAs may seem costly now, it is a cheaper alternative in the long term by avoiding the initial and on-going costs that are part and parcel of the Deputyship Order process.
For more information on Lasting Power of Attorneys contact Warners Solicitors