Estate Planning isn’t just about Wills, don’t forget yourLasting Power of Attorney (LPA)!Look upon an LPA as an insurance policy, you hope you’ll never need to use it, butthe consequences of not having one are a nightmare!A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to nominate someone to step into your shoesand handle your affairs if you lose mental capacity. There are two LPAs, Property andAffairs, and Health and Welfare. People are often unaware that if you don’t have onein place before you lose mental capacity it can result in a lot aggravation and expensefor your relatives who will have to apply to the Office of the Public Guardian to act onyour behalf.Why have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) ?Today if an adult loses the ability to make their own decisions, all their financialarrangements including bank accounts and investments, even those heldjointly are "frozen". Financial Institutions will quote the Incapacity Act, and denythe spouse and family all access until they can produce Court of Protection authorityto act and sign on the incapacitated persons behalf. Until then no money!♣ If you lose mental capacity through illness or an accident who will look after yourfinancial & personal welfare?♣ Once you have lost mental capacity it is too late to write a Lasting Power ofAttorney (LPA), the courts will appoint somebody to run your affairs, this is costlyand will take time.By taking action today you can offset all the stress and the expense of theCourt of Protection. Remember like a Will you need to arrange your LastingPower of Attorney (LPA) in advance.What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document used to appoint anotherperson or persons to act on your behalf. There are two types of Lasting Power ofAttorney (LPA), one to cover your financial affairs, the other to cover your health.A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) Property gives your chosen Attorneys the rightto look after all your financial affairs. For example looking after your bank accounts,paying utility bills, making investment decisions, or even selling your home.Restrictions can be built into a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) limiting the scopeof the powers if required, but rest assured your Attorneys are fully accountable fortheir actions.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) Health allows you to predetermine matters suchas care needs i.e. you would rather stay in your own home, or life sustaining drugsetc, and takes the decision making away from somebody who possibly doesnt knowyou.To make either arrangement you (the donor) needs to have mental capacity, once lostit is too late to act, forcing your family to make an expensive and long windedapplication to the Court of Protection.Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) need to be registered with the Court ofProtection to make them valid, this is currently taking up to 13 weeks due to therealisation by many that this document is as vitally important as a Will.A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) health can only be used once mental capacity islost, but a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) finance can be used once registered, so arestriction can be included if desired making it valid only once you are incapable ofmaking decisions for yourself.Put simply, more and more people are now looking to effect some element of controlover their lives, via someone they trust, at a time when they are unable tocommunicate their own wishes. Before the existence of such instruments, if webecame incapacitated through old age, infirmity, or loss of capacity, we were largelyat the mercy of the State and of Institutions. With the creation of the Lasting Powerof Attorney (LPA) this no longer has to be the case, provided we act early enough.Who to consider as an Attorney ?More often than not our clients will appoint their children, as well as their spouse toact as Attorneys circumventing the need to involve Social Services in the decisionmaking process. It is also highly appropriate to consider appointing close trustedfriends to act as Attorneys too.We offer a unique low cost Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) service, and will behappy to send you our free Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) information pack thatwill help make a complicated subject considerably easier to comprehend.A Living Will - an alternative to a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)health.Why would you want to consider an alternative to an Lasting Power of Attorney(LPA) health?Two possible reasons:♣ You feel that asking someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf, isasking too much and is unfair.
♣ Or, it might be cost, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) costs more, and will mostlikely incur a registration fee.So what exactly is a Living Will? Its official name is an Advanced Directive (AD),because you are making your wishes (directives) known in advance.Every competent adult has a right to refuse treatment, or to state circumstances inwhich they would not wish treatment to be offered to them. It is recognised that suchwishes can be formally recorded within an Advanced Directive. It is also worth notingthat Living Wills are now recognised in Law, and as such are binding upon themedical profession, where previously they were not.Things to Consider:♣ An Advance Directive is effectively "written in stone", so if you do lose capacity itcannot be changed. On the other hand, if you had chosen a Lasting Power ofAttorney (LPA) health your attorney could at least have a discussion with yourmedical team, at which point they might arrive at a decision that you would havebeen happy with.♣ Under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), the doctors can still overrule theattorney(s)♣ In other words neither is a perfect answer, and you must make your choice now,based on your best instincts, and good advice from family and friends. If you canavoid it, do not make the choice on cost alone, but rather on your instincts of whatfeels right and best for you.Are you exempt from paying the registration fees for your Lasting Powerof Attorney (LPA) ?You do not have to pay any fees if you receive any of the following benefits:♣ Income Support♣ Income based Employment and Support Allowance♣ Income-based Job-Seeker’s Allowance♣ Pension Guarantee Credit element of State Pension Credit (you will not be eligibleif this is calculated as nil)♣ A combination of Working Tax Credit and either Child Tax Credit DisabilityElement Working Tax Credit or Severe Disability Element
♣ Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Benefit (not including the 25% single personreduction)♣ Local Housing AllowanceYou can request a fee exemption at the time you pay the fee. Your request must havesupporting evidence, such as an official letter or entitlement notice from theappropriate benefit provider. It should be nomore than three months old, mustcontain your title, full name, address and postcode. It must also confirm that youcurrently receive the benefit.If you don’t supply the right evidence you will have to pay the full fee.Fee remission - Getting a partial discount.Even if you don’t qualify for a fee exemption, it is still possible that you won’t have topay the full fee. Getting a discount on a fee is called ‘fee remission’.Fee remission is based on annual income before tax and National Insurance arededucted. State benefits, pensions, interest from any investments and non-means-tested benefits (such as Disability Living Allowance) are also considered.If your gross annual income is less than £12,000, you only need to pay 50% of theapplication to register fee.