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"If you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselvesH. J. Cutler (Malcolm’s Grandad)"

Buying peace of mind this Christmas



Introduction

A recent news story has highlighted the importance of having in place Lasting Powers of Attorney and so in this article we look at what these are, why they are so important and how we at Scott Walby LLP can help with drawing these up if they are something you want.

So what are Lasting Powers of Attorney?

Lasting Powers of Attorney are legal documents which enable you to authorise named individuals to make decisions for you in circumstances where you no longer have the mental capacity to do so yourself. These were introduced in 2007 and replaced the former Enduring Powers of Attorney, which had been criticised as being too narrow in scope and open to abuse.

There are two forms of Lasting Power; one for the appointment of individuals to deal with our property and finance, and a second to deal with our health and welfare. These are separate and distinct from each other, covering different areas of our life and work slightly differently in terms of how they operate.

Why are they so important though?

There is a common held belief amongst many people that our family or spouses automatically acquire authority to deal with our affairs when we lose mental capacity. This however is simply not the case. Instead it is only those appointed under a Lasting Power or ordered by the court that have this authority.

By therefore drawing up Lasting Powers of Attorney, you can make provision for the management of your own affairs should you lose capacity. That can mean choosing the individuals you feel are best suited to running your business or making decisions regarding the medical treatment you receive. Without these and you run the risk of having your health decisions made by clinicians and your finances controlled by fee-charging professionals appointed through the court.

And so how can we help?

A vital part of preparing Lasting Powers is making sure they are drafted correctly and comply with the provisions set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Every year the Office of the Public Guardian, the body responsible for registering Lasting Powers, rejects thousands of applications because of errors and mistakes. We at Scott Walby LLP can ensure that such mistakes are avoided and that your Lasting Powers are effective, guiding you through the process from start to finish. 

We can also advise you in relation to the kind of Powers you might require, given your circumstances. For instance business owners might need a separate Property and Finance Lasting Power to deal with the management and running of their business to that of their personal finances. We can ensure any restrictions or guidance you want your attorneys to follow is included and properly set out. This is becoming increasingly common with those wishing to set out their position regarding any medical treatment they are to receive.

Summary

Mental incapacity can strike at any time, through accident or ill-health, and every year many families suffer the distress and difficulty of having to apply to court, seeking authority to manage the affairs of relatives and loved one who have lost capacity and failed to put in place Lasting Powers of Attorney. 

It may therefore never happen to you and you may never need it, but drawing up Lasting Powers offers peace of mind and can ensure that those closest to you have the necessary legal authority to handle your affairs in the event that the worst should happen.

At Scott Walby LLP we offer a fixed fee service for drafting and completing Lasting Powers and so if you’d like to discuss this further or look at having these drawn up, please feel free to contact us.


Article Date: 05/12/2019

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