Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is one of the two types of Lasting Power of Attorney available in the UK, the other being a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney. Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs enable you to nominate individuals you trust – known as ‘attorneys’- to take decisions regarding your financial assets if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself.
Our solicitors have extensive experience advising clients wishing to make a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney. They understand that contemplating a time when you might be unable to manage your affairs can be overwhelming, and they will guide you through the process sensitively, giving concise, straightforward advice in a cost-effective manner.
What Decisions Can An Attorney Make Under A Lasting Power of Attorney For Property And Financial Affairs?
Your nominated attorneys are given the power to make decisions relating to your finances and property on your behalf. The matters over which they may have control include –
- Managing your bank accounts and income;
- Paying bills and collecting other income arising from, for example, benefits or pensions;
- Dealing with your property, which may include renting it out or selling it as appropriate;
- Using your funds to purchase any items you may need, such as clothing and toiletries;
- Using your money to buy small gifts for others on your behalf.
You can restrict the actions your attorney can take under your Lasting Power of Attorney and can give specific instructions as desired. Our team of expert solicitors will advise on the best way to achieve your wishes and ensure the document accurately reflects your intentions.
Who Should You Appoint As Your Attorney?
First and foremost, your attorneys should be people you trust. In addition, you may choose to consider how the proposed attorneys manage their own affairs and whether they have experience in the matters over which they will have control.
You can appoint as many attorneys as you wish, but the usual number is between two and four.
Why Do You Need A Lasting Power Of Attorney For Property And Financial Affairs?
A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney ensures that important decisions relating to your finances and property pass to individuals chosen and trusted by you. It gives peace of mind that any decisions will be made with your best interests at heart, following your wishes, lifestyle and preferences.
If you do not have the appropriate Lasting Power of Attorney in place and become incapacitated, those you love will not have access to your finances. They will be legally barred from utilising your income, or the money in your bank accounts to pay your bills or buy any items you need, and will be unable to access any funds tied up in your property to pay for the care you may require.
In time, the Court of Protection may appoint an individual, known as a ‘Deputy’, to make decisions on your behalf, but the process can take many months, and your finances may fall into disarray in the meantime. Further, whilst a loved one or family member can apply to be a Deputy, the person appointed is ultimately at the discretion of the Court, which may appoint a professional Deputy, particularly if your assets are sizeable.
When Should You Make A Property And Financial Affairs Lasting Power Of Attorney?
Understandably, most of us only turn our attention to matters such as Lasting Powers of Attorney when faced with circumstances which may result in us losing mental capacity, ordinarily due to the ageing process or being diagnosed with an illness. It is, however, never too early to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Whilst it may not be needed for some time, putting the relevant documentation in place now will ensure your interests are protected should you be rendered suddenly and unexpectedly unable to manage your affairs.
How Are Your Interests Protected When You Make A Lasting Power Of Attorney For Property And Financial Affairs?
The law is alive to the high degree of power granted to attorneys and imposes numerous strict obligations on them to ensure they act in your best interests at all times. If there is reason to suspect that your attorneys are not doing so, they may be removed and ordered to repay any misappropriated funds, and the Lasting Power of Attorney may be revoked.
Rest assured, the instances of attorneys abusing their power are low, and an established legal framework exists to protect your interests. Our experienced team of solicitors will explain the relevant legal safeguards in detail and make sure that you are entirely satisfied and happy to proceed before registering your Lasting Power of Attorney.
Can You Cancel A Property And Financial Affairs Lasting Power Of Attorney?
Yes, you can cancel it at any time, provided you have the requisite mental capacity.
How We Can Assist You When Making A Lasting Power Of Attorney For Property And Financial Affairs
Our solicitors have assisted a significant number of clients in preparing Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorneys. They will take the time to understand your concerns and priorities and prepare a document which effectively mirrors your wishes and intentions. They will ensure you fully understand the impact of your Lasting Power of Attorney and are happy with it, before ensuring it is properly registered.