If only we could see what the future holds? Maybe we would then be in a better position to plan for what is to come. No one has the answer but this doesn’t mean that you can’t plan ahead for some eventualities.
For example, have you ever considered what would happen if you were in an accident or if you were diagnosed with a condition which meant that you could no longer make decisions for yourself?
It is a common misconception that your spouse or civil partner would automatically be in a position to deal with matters for you. Some also think that their ‘next of kin’, perhaps a child, parent or sibling, would be able to help instead. Unfortunately, they too do not have the legal right to deal with matters on your behalf.
This leaves many people in a vulnerable position. Family members, may find themselves in a position where they are unable to access information regarding your assets, even in order to keep paying your bills or dealing with your day to day care.
So, what can you do to prepare for your future?
A Lasting Powers of Attorney allows you to choose someone you trust implicitly, an Attorney, to deal with your personal affairs if you find yourself unable to do so. Importantly, there are two different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney that you can put in place: Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare. Each Lasting Powers of Attorney allows you to appoint individuals closest to you to assist you during your lifetime. Guidance and conditions can also be included to ensure that you are protected as the Donor, whilst also providing your appointed Attorney(s) with some guidance which will help them to make decisions in the future. But what if it’s too late and you lose capacity without putting a Power of Attorney in place?
In such circumstances a Deputy can be appointed to act on your behalf if you have lost capacity but, this is a time-consuming process (usually 6 to 12 months) and can be very costly. This leaves a period of uncertainty while an application is being made to the Court of Protection. But this isn’t the only problem.
Health and welfare deputyships are uncommonly granted by the Court of Protection and are usually seen as a last resort. Instead, an order may be made to assist with a specific issue rather than delegating full decision-making power. This is because the Court prefers to retain powers in this respect given the sensitive and often complex nature of the decisions to be made. We cannot stress enough how important planning for the future is and here at Franklins Solicitors LLP we are dedicated to assist where we can.
If you would like to obtain advice or guidance regarding
Lasting Powers of Attorney or would like assistance with a
Deputyship Application, please contact our Private Client team on email@example.com or call our Northampton office on 01604 828282 / Milton Keynes office on: 01908 660966.