01708 757575 mbs@ker.co.uk Enterprise House, 18 Eastern Road, Romford, Essex UK, RM1 3PJ
HomeLasting Power of AttorneyManaging Your Future – Wills Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection – Romford Solicitors

Managing Your Future – Wills Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection – Romford Solicitors

Help for the Elderly Client and their Family

Every adult has the right to manage his or her own money and affairs. Sometimes, however, our ability to do this decreases as we grow older. Whether this is caused by illness, disability, or an accident, there are a number of practical steps you can take to prepare for this.If this describes your situation, or that of someone close to you, you should consider getting legal advice. At Kenneth Elliott + Rowe Solicitors in Romford we provide a wide range of elderly client services. We can help by encouraging you to get your affairs in order and make your wishes for the future known.

This may involve anything from writing a will to choosing someone to take power of attorney – including the types of Lasting Power of Attorney (a power of attorney is a form of legal authority to act for you) over your financial affairs, if this is necessary. This can lighten the burden on relatives or carers who might otherwise find it difficult to make complicated decisions on your behalf.

Where there is not enough time to take these precautionary steps, or if a person is already ‘incapacitated’ and unable to handle their own financial affairs, it is usually the relatives of the person who need advice. In these circumstances there are a number of options available. One of these options is to contact the Court of Protection, which can make arrangements for managing the person’s financial affairs.

 

What we need to know
  • whether or not you have made a Will;
  • who you would choose to handle your affairs, if this is necessary;
  • what assets or income you have;
  • any special wishes about how you want your property or assets to be handled; and
  • whether you have a particular medical condition.
If you are getting advice on behalf of an elderly person, the we will first need to confirm with the elderly person that they want to instruct us.
We can arrange for a number of different documents to assist your circumstances. Briefly these are:

A Will

One of the most cost effective way of managing your affairs is by estate planning and making a will (which can be combined with lifetime gifts). This is the main way to determine to whom your assets pass to following your death. The Intestacy rules which deal with the transfer of these assets where a Will has not been drawn up do not always produce the results you would expect. This can cause difficulties to those left behind following your death – an additional burden which you would obviously wish to avoid.

An Ordinary Power of Attorney

This is a legal way of giving someone else the power to manage your financial affairs when it is difficult for you to manage them yourself, perhaps because of a physical disability. Usually you appoint someone you trust, such as a close relative, friend, or a solicitor as your ‘attorney’. You decide who to appoint as attorney, and can cancel the arrangement at any time. Power of attorney only applies if you are fully aware of the implications of the arrangement. This type of power of attorney will come to an end if you become mentally incapable of managing your financial affairs.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney goes one step further than an ordinary power of attorney, because it ‘lasts’, even after you have become unable to manage your affairs – whether temporarily or permanently, or because of an illness, disability or accident. Lasting powers of attorney have now replaced enduring powers of attorney, although valid enduring powers of attorney made before 1 October 2007 can still be used. No new enduring powers of attorney can be made after 1 October 2007. For a lasting power of attorney to be valid, you must fully understand the implications of the arrangement at the time of making it. A certificate provider will need to sign a certificate to say that you are aware of the implications and that nobody is pressurising you into making a lasting power of attorney. More than one attorney can be appointed at the same time.Your attorney cannot start making decisions on your behalf until the lasting power of attorney has been registered by the Office of the Public Guardian, who will make sure your attorney is aware of his or her duty to act in your best interests. The Office of the Public Guardian will charge a fee for registering the Lasting Power of Attorney. A separate Lasting Power of Attorney can be made to give your attorney the right to make personal welfare and medical treatment decisions on your behalf if at sometime in the future you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

The Court of Protection

If someone is mentally incapable of making a particular decision at a particular time,and they haven’t made a lasting power of attorney, and the decision isn’t one that can be made on an informal basis, the matter can be referred to the Court of Protection. The court may either choose to make the decision itself on the person’s behalf, or choose someone else, known as a ‘deputy’, to make the decision for them.Where the court appoints a deputy to manage someone’s property and financial affairs on an ongoing basis, the deputy usually has to keep accounts, enter into a security bond, and report to the Office of the Public Guardian. The Court of Protection charges a one-off application fee, and the Office of the Public Guardian charges a yearly fee to cover the cost of supervising the deputy’s work.

Appointeeship

If a person is incapacitated and entitled to receive a retirement pension or other state benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions can choose an ‘appointee’ to receive those benefits on that person’s behalf. The appointee can be a relative, friend or someone from the caring professions. They will be asked to produce some proof that the claimant is incapacitated, such as a doctor’s certificate. There is no fee involved in this service.
For further assistance call David Farr on 01708 757575 or email David.Farr@ker.co.uk

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