WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY? BY SUE MALLETT, SOVEREIGN ESTATES provided for WhereIsTheCare

“My company is Sovereign Estate Planning, I’m an Estate Planning Consultant working with families and individuals across Essex and surrounding counties to provide an “In Home” service for all Estate Planning needs, this covers Wills, Trusts, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Applications to the Court of Protection.

I see my clients in the comfort of their own home at a time that is convenient for them, which enables them to have other members of their family with them if they wish. I also offer an out of office hours service.

As I don’t charge for my time this allows my clients to feel relaxed that the clock is not ticking and they can have as much time as they wish to discuss their needs and to be able to ask as many questions as they require. I always explain everything in plain English and avoid using legalese at all times”.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney enables the people that you appoint to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity through an accident, illness or dementia.

Having a Lasting Power of attorney in place means that:

• Your family will not need to apply to the Court of Protection for legal rights over decisions regarding your health, wellbeing & financial affairs. This process can take months and cost thousands of pounds

• You can detail how you would like people to make decisions about your finances and your health

Q&A session – brief transcript of video that can be viewed on this site under the Home Page – Articles – Video Articles

Sovereign Estate Planning was established in 2009 prior to that I have been involved with Wills for 14 years. I like to explain everything to my clients in a way they can understand and avoid legal jargon where I can. We are based in Chelmsford but see clients as far away as Reading and the centre of London.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a Legal document that allows you to appoint someone to look after your affairs should you at any time in your life be unable to do so yourself.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is still a legally binding document if it was signed before October 2007 but it only deals with you financial affairs and no decisions can be made regarding your health and welfare.

There are Two Types of Lasting Power of Attorney

1. Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare.

You do not necessarily need to complete both but it is advisable to, the Property and Financial Affairs can be used when you HAVE mental capacity if you wish for your attorney to make decisions for you.

Property and Financial Affairs

This allows you to choose people (as an attorney) to deal with your finances, you can detail how you would like them to act for you giving them guidance of your wishes.

2. Health & Welfare

This allows you to choose people to act on your behalf (as an attorney) and make decisions about your health & personal welfare, when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. This can include decisions regarding your healthcare and medical treatment, decisions about where you live and day to day-to-day decisions about your welfare. You can also give your health and welfare attorney the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. You will be asked whether you wish to do this or not on the form, and you will need to state your intention clearly.

How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

You can download the forms from the internet and complete them yourself, or, you can ask seek the help from a professional.

How much will it cost?

If you are able to complete all of the documents yourself then there is only the Office of the Public Guardian’s registration fee to pay, which is £110 per form.

However if you were to make any mistakes the forms would be returned to you and you would need to pay the fee again, this can be very time consuming as the registration process can take up to 12-16 weeks.

If you seek the services of a professional the fees can vary between £250 – £500 + vat for each Lasting Power of Attorney, Plus the £110 registration fee.

How long does the process take?

After completing all of the documents and the registration forms the Office of the Public Guardian have to wait 4 weeks after receiving the forms so the Notifiable person(s) have time to raise any objection to the chosen attorneys if they need to. Then they will process the application, this normally take another 8 weeks.

What if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney and I lose capacity?

If you lost capacity and didn’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place then it’s too late to make one. A member of your family or professional would have to apply to the Court of Protection to apply to be appointed as your deputy. This process can be very lengthy sometimes up to 12 months and can cost between £1000 -£3000.

Do we have to come to your office to set up a POA and long is the visit?

No I would come and see you in your home, its more comfortable for my clients in their familiar surroundings, office can be very clinical places to be. Also this means clients can have other member of their family with them which can be a comfort to them.

I would need an hour or so to gather all the information then once the application has been sent to the office of the Public Guardian it will normally be 12-14 weeks before it is registered.

Sovereign Estate Planning fees £249 each

How important do you think they are to have?

Extremely, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a registered LPA in place as I have said life doesn’t always go to plan. Lasting Powers of Attorney offer great reassurance to all age groups that their affairs will continue to be handled properly by someone they trust.

ARTICLE

Are you really in control?

Most of us know the state of our bank accounts, what we own and what we want to do with all of our assets, whether financial or material. But what happens when we can’t make those decisions any longer?

If you think that’s a few years off don’t be fooled; events that incapacitate people can happen at any age. Accidents happen and quite young people have experienced strokes, debilitating illnesses, the unexpected onset of diseases that affect the individual’s ability to think rationally and make decisions.

Of course, your family will almost certainly rally around, but unless you plan ahead you could find that the legal system will award management of your assets to someone who is not the person you would have chosen. It means that the Court will examine your affairs before giving judgment. This all takes time – and can cost up to £3,000.

A Lasting Power of Attorney only needs to be done once and provides you with a means of decidingwho does what, who has the power to make decisions on your behalf about your welfare and about your assets.

Don’t leave it all to chance; life doesn’t always go to plan – so plan for the unexpected and you’ll have peace of mind.

www.sovereignestateplanning.co.uk   01245 460383