There is no way of knowing what will happen in the future and there could be a time when you or a loved one are mentally incapable of managing your affairs. It’s always a good idea to make sure yourself and those close to you have appointed someone you trust as Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), so that person can act on your behalf when you can no longer make the important decisions.
There are a number of risks involved for those that do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney appointed, and often when people are thinking about going through the process, it soon becomes too late to do so. Those wondering if they should get a Lasting Power of Attorney, should ensure they go through the process as soon as possible.
One risk of not having appointed a Lasting Power of Attorney is that you may not be able to sell jointly held assets. For those that do have jointly held assets, the person you hold the assets with may not be able to sell or access them until the court appoints a deputy. This includes jointly held bank accounts, and when a bank or building society learns of one of the account holders becoming mentally incapable, they could freeze the account. They may then limit access to the funds to an attorney, or a deputy when one is appointed, which could take months.
If you have not appointed someone as your LPA, someone close to you will have to apply to the Court of Protection to be your deputy instead, in order to make decisions on your behalf. Although it is an alternative to Lasting Power of Attorney, because a deputyship is appointed after a person has lost capacity, it comes with a number of differences and drawbacks.
Because it is imperative that a LPA is registered before mental capacity is lost, it can be done relatively quickly, in around eight to twelve weeks, and once the process is complete, the chosen attorney can act immediately. Registering for a deputyship is a much longer process and can take up to six months. No one can make a decision on your behalf during this time and your funds cannot be accessed, even to pay bills and expenses.
Where someone with Lasting Power of Attorney is entrusted to carry out their duties, a deputy appointed by the court will have to submit an annual report to the Office of the Public Guardian. The report will need to outline all of the expenses they have incurred as part of their role as deputy and the court will review their decisions on an annual basis.
Appointing a deputy can be expensive. The court fee for a deputyship application is £371 and whoever is applying will need to pay the fee twice if they are applying to become both types of deputy. If the court decides the case needs a hearing, there will be another added cost of £494. On top of this, deputyships are also subject to annual supervision fees of up to £320 a year.
At an already traumatic time when a close family member has lost their mental capacity, going through the courts can add to the strain that those close to you are likely to be experiencing. By appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney well in advance, the process of managing your affairs becomes a much less stressful process for your loved ones.
In rare cases, the Court of Protection can refuse a deputy’s application. When this happens, the responsibility of looking after, and deciding what to do with the person’s assets who has lost mental capacity, falls to the local authority.
Make sure to appoint a LPA and don’t leave the future to chance. Our Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors can walk you through the process, making the task as simple, and stress free as possible. Our Power of Attorney solicitors in Liverpool are experts and have helped many people achieve peace of mind for the future. Contact us today if you are interested in finding out more about appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney, or any of our other services.