Lynette Viney-Passig is a Solicitor & Director with Swayne Johnson Solicitors. As Head of Private Clients, she is experienced in dealing with Wills, Powers of Attorney, Estate Administration, Care Home Fees and Court of Protection matters.
The approach of Christmas usually brings with it hectic times; visiting family and friends, shopping and preparations at home for the festive period. One generally finds time, amongst an otherwise busy schedule, to fit in all of the planning and preparation that Christmas brings.
However, when it comes to planning positively for the future (such as the preparation or review of one’s Will or the preparation of Lasting Power of Attorney), it is often the case that such activities are ‘put off’ for another day.
Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney when they came into force in October 2007.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one for property and financial affairs and one for health and welfare. You can prepare both types of Lasting Power of Attorney or just one.
The Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs can be useful, for example, if you need help buying and/or selling property, managing your savings and/or investments, dealing with tax affairs and claiming benefits.
The Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare authorises your attorney to make decisions about, for example, your diet, dress, daily routine and the medical treatment that you receive.
If you prepared an Enduring Power of Attorney before October 2007 it will still be valid but it is important that the document is reviewed to ensure that it continues to accurately reflect your wishes and the chosen attorneys are still capable and/or willing to act for you. It is important to note that Enduring Powers of Attorney do not cover decisions regarding your health and welfare.
It is a common misconception that Lasting Powers of Attorney are “for older people”. In fact, every adult should have a Lasting Power of Attorney to protect themselves should something happen to them and they become incapable of making decisions for themselves. They are, for example, particularly important for those who run or manage businesses. Also, if you have investments, your financial advisor will not be able to continue managing those investments if you lack the capacity to make decisions.
Lasting Powers of Attorney are a bit like insurance policies. You hope you will not need it but, if you do, it is well worth it in the end. You and your loved ones will be saved a great deal of stress and expense if Lasting Powers of Attorney are set up in good time.
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney and you become incapable of making decisions, your family will have no other option but to apply to the Court of Protection for a Court Order. This process is complicated, expensive and can take between 6 to 9 months to complete.
Why not make one early New Year’s resolution and find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney and how they can help protect you and your loved ones.
In keeping with the festive spirit, Lynette and her team will be offering a discount of 20% from their legal fees for individuals wishing to prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney throughout December 2014 and January 2015. Simply telephone Lynette or her team on 01745 818257 for further information.