LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY PUTS YOU IN CONTROL
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place, you forfeit your right to elect the person you would like to elect to act on your behalf. You may be surprised to know your family does not have an automatic right or have the legal authority to deal with your affairs. If capacity is lost and no LPA in place a family member can decide to apply to become a Deputy, however the typical costs to make the application run into several hundred pounds (full details can be found at the Office of the Public Guardian Court of Protection Website ) and it is not guaranteed that they will be appointed.
If the Court of Protection appoints the family member as a deputy a security bond will need to be set up, this is a financial arrangement where you pay a yearly sum dependent on the level of security set by the Court. This will protect the client (your loved one) from any financial loss that may occur due to you miss handling their finances. A Judge will set the level of security that needs to be put in place and this is dependent on the circumstances of each individual case.
All Deputies, no matter what their relationship to the client is, or what the circumstances are, will have to pay a security bond under the terms of the Mental Capacity Act (The Mental Capacity Act 2005).
The Court of Protection may take control and appoint a different Deputy to represent you if they feel this is the best outcome for you. It may be decided that a Solicitor or the local authority is to act as Deputy; this means a stranger will have control and access to personal and financial records, various court fees and application fees will be applied and have to be paid.
Deputies must be supervised by the Court with annual supervision fees dependent on the level of supervision required. This is because the Court of Protection doesn’t know that the appointed Deputy may have been the person the patient would have chosen for themselves.
The average time to complete an application is 6 months. Causing delay and uncertainty at such a critical time will cause even more anguish for your family and may be detrimental to your loved ones finances and to your health.
If you are still unsure whether you wish to arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney, then please click the button below to read Heather Bateman’s story.
The tragedy behind Heathers story is that had they drafted Lasting Power of Attorneys when Michael had capacity, all the stress and intrusion of the Court of Protection could have been avoided. Unfortunately, the opportunity was missed and the decision was taken out of their hands.
Don’t let your opportunity to decide for yourself be taken away, making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is the only certain way to protect your interests in these circumstances.
There are two kinds of Lasting Power of Attorney available to you:
• Property and Affairs This gives your Attorneys whom you have chosen the express power to look after your financial affairs when you are no longer able, but they cannot make decisions about your personal affairs.
• Personal Welfare This Lasting Power of Attorney permits your attorneys to act for you in respect of your personal affairs and welfare, but not your financial affairs.
Once the Lasting Power of Attorney is produced they need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.