No-one can foresee the future and it is important that we prepare ourselves for unexpected injury or ill health as best we can. Incapacity, whether it is physical or mental can occur at any time in our lives. Putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney means that you can appoint a person or people to look after your property and your financial affairs.
The person you appoint is called your attorney and more often than not this will be a family member or a friend. By having a Lasting Power of Attorney you will be able to give your family and friends clear guidance as to who should be responsible for particular matters and how you would like certain assets dealt with. They can then use this information at a time when you may be unable to give these instructions yourself.
We have all heard the stories about attorneys abusing their power. Following the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2006 your position as donor is now better protected than previously. Now, before the attorney can start to deal with your affairs the document needs to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. As part of the procedure individuals who you nominate when you sign your Lasting Power of Attorney have to be notified of the registration. They can then raise any objections or concerns that they have about the attorney with the Public Guardianship Office.
If you are considering signing a Lasting Power of Attorney we would recommend that you consult a solicitor and take advice, first of all as to whether a Lasting Power of Attorney is appropriate in your circumstances, and secondly whether the person you are proposing to appoint is suitable. A certificate forming part of the document needs to be completed, usually by a solicitor, who has to confirm that at the time you sign the document you understand it, its nature and effect, and that no-one is coercing you into signing it.
Unfortunately, we do hear from clients who have a family member who needs help due to a diagnosis of dementia for instance, but who, when we meet them, no longer has the mental capacity to complete the document. We would urge everyone of whatever age to think about putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney now to safeguard against the uncertainty of the future.
At Spratt Endicott Solicitors we have a specialised team of solicitors to help protect and preserve your wealth and protect your family. If you require any advice regarding a Lasting Power of Attorney
, please contact Lucy Gordon, Partner, on 01295 204045 or email Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org