Spouses, children and other family members, are becoming more aware that they are not automatically entitled to take over the management of their loved one’s financial affairs if they are no longer capable of doing it themselves.
The only way anyone can be certain who will step in and manage their financial affairs is by making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
If a person has made an LPA then their chosen attorney will immediately step into their shoes and deal with day to day matters like sorting their post, paying bills, managing their bank accounts and dealing with utility companies as well as the more complex matters of making and managing investments, buying, maintaining and selling property, liaising with the local authority to arrange care home fees and perhaps managing any business interests the person may have.
Unfortunately, many people put off making an LPA, because they take their health for granted. Many assume that they only need to worry about doing an LPA if they develop dementia. Sadly life changing events such as a stroke, illness or an accident can happen without warning at any age, and this is when unforeseen problems arise.
However, anyone making an LPA must have the requisite mental capacity. It is important that they can understand and interpret legal information and make informed decisions accordingly. Without the required mental capacity an LPA is not an option, neither can the family make an LPA on behalf of the person. (Where there is any doubt a GP may be asked to assess and determine mental capacity).
Unfortunately many families only face the reality of this difficult situation, when it is too late and (in the absence of an LPA) the only option available to them is a Court of Protection – Deputyship Application.
Whilst a Deputyship Application may offer a solution to the problem, it should be as a last resort. It will take many months before the application will be approved by the Court, the process is costly and complicated with no guarantee of success. This can exacerbate what may already be a stressful time for the family. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, the family will often express regret that their nearest and dearest had not had the foresight to make an LPA whilst they were able to.
If you would like to discuss LPAs or Deputyship Applications in more detail please contact us. We are of course happy to visit you at home if necessary.
A law firm that has been offering expert legal help and advice to individuals and businesses in and around Christchurch and New Milton for more than forty years.