Powers of Attorney
Many people start to think about making a Power of Attorney when they reach a certain age and we are often asked the question “when is the right time?” At Bennett Richmond we believe in the old saying ‘the sooner the better’.
It can be worrying if you are concerned about who will look after your finances and affairs if you are unable to. By this we mean selling your property, managing your Bank accounts making important decisions on your behalf about your health and welfare.
We all hope to live a long and healthy life and retain our physical and mental health until we die. However, the sad reality is that many people will be affected by degenerative diseases during their lifetime such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Even simply old age can prevent a person from dealing with day to day jobs like calling into the Bank or paying bills. You do not necessarily need to be elderly to lose the ability to manage your affairs. You may be in a serious accident or develop a medical problem which leaves you housebound. A Power of Attorney could prove priceless in one of these scenarios.
ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY (EPA)
If you made one of these before October 2007 it is a valid Power of Attorney. If one of your Attorneys named in your EPA believes that you are no longer able to make decisions on your own the EPA will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. We can do this for your appointed Attorneys.
LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY (LPA)
The law changed in October 2007 and whilst an existing EPA is still valid you can no longer create an EPA. An LPA is a legal document which enables people you have chosen (your Attorneys) to make decisions for you, just like an EPA. However, the difference is that the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used at all. We prepare the relevant forms and take you through the process of creating your LPA and we then apply to have it registered for you.
If you did not make an EPA before the change in the law and you have not yet made an LPA and then find that you are unable to manage your affairs the Court would have to appoint what is called a Deputy on your behalf. The person who applies to be a Deputy may not be who you would have chosen had you made an EPA/LPA. The process to appoint a Deputy is lengthy and costly and this is why we recommend that you do not delay in getting your affairs in order while you are fit and well.
You may take the view that you will never need an LPA but by making one at least you would have peace of mind that anyone making important decisions for you in the future would be a person of your choice.