Do you know what happens if you or your loved ones lose the capacity to make decisions?
If you do not have an LPA in place and you lose mental capacity, the Court of Protection (CoP) may appoint a "Deputy" to make ongoing decisions on your behalf. Applying to be a Deputy can be expensive and lengthy. Court costs include an application fee of £400, a registration fee of £500 and a supervision fee of up to £800 per annum. Solicitors" fees for the necessary CoP applications can run into thousands of pounds. It can take many months before a Deputyship order is made and in the interim your financial affairs would effectively be frozen - a particular problem if care home fees are being funded privately - and all welfare decisions would rest with your medical team and or social services.
The CoP will only appoint one Deputy, who may not be the individual you would have chosen. MORE than 99% of people could find their wishes descend into financial dispute by not appointing power of attorney. Despite Lasting Powers of Attorney regulations being introduced in 2007, only 135,000 (2011 data) have been registered - less than 1% of the population. Dementia affects about 1% of people aged 60-64 years and as many as 30-50% of people older than 85 years. It is the leading reason for placing elderly people in institutions such as nursing homes. For peace of mind it is important that you make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to nominate someone you trust now to make important decisions on your behalf in the future. LPAs are often left too late and you cannot make an LPA if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
Did you know that even a joint building society or bank account may be frozen if one of the account holders lacks mental capacity and there is no LPA in place. As well as replacing the Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) use as a document to protect your PROPERTY & FINANCIAL AFFAIRS, the introduction of the Lasting Power of Attorney also meant the introduction of a SECOND document allowing you to specify somebody to look after your HEALTH & WELFARE.
EPAs can still be used but it is advisable to set up an LPA Health & Welfare to run alongside. These TWO NEW documents are :-
"The Lasting Power of Attorney - Property & Financial Affairs" ("LPA-PA") - this allows you to appoint somebody to look after YOUR MONEY and related affairs.
"The Lasting Power of Attorney - Health & Welfare" ("LPA-HW") - this allows you to appoint somebody to look after your personal welfare an healthcare. To a large extent this replaces what was commonly known as the "Living Will".