Have you ever considered who would look after your money if you were to develop serious health problems and unable to do it yourself? Do you have someone you can trust to make decisions on your health and well-being if you couldn’t do it yourself?
Anybody who has ever been in the situation of caring for somebody who is no longer able to support themselves will know how difficult it can be. Even simple tasks like paying bills at the shop can be a challenge.
It isn’t a situation most of us like to think about, but it is important to plan ahead to ensure you are properly looked after.
You can help prepare yourself and your family by appointing a power of attorney. This means you are granting authority to someone you can trust, like a family member, close friend or legal advisor to deal with your finances and make decision on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so yourself.
The document will only become operative once it’s been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and decisions will then only be made once you’ve lost capacity. You can register the documents as soon as you’ve signed them or you can choose to wait until they are needed. Your attorneys would have to register the documents on your behalf if you decide to wait.
There is a cost to prepare lasting powers of attorney and another fee to the Office of the Public Guardian.
More than one person can become your power of attorney, either together or independently of one another.
If you do lose capacity and haven’t appointed a power of attorney, your family or friends will have to make an application to the Court of Protection. This is an area of family court that specifically deals with people who aren’t able to take care of their own affairs. It’s a lengthy procedure (4 months or more is normal) and the whole process is very costly.
Fieldings Porter has many years’ experience dealing with power of attorney issues. Give them a call on 01204 689623 to find out more.
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