Looking for a legal professional to make your Lasting Power of Attorney? Perhaps you are starting to think about preparing for your later years, or maybe you have recently seen a relative or close friend suffer with dementia or old age, and realised how important it was for them to have in place powers of attorney.
Chiltern Wills can help. We are a friendly, professional Will writing business based in Beaconsfield, and we specialise in making Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Chiltern Wills is run by Rebecca D’Arcy, solicitor (non-practising). Rebecca previously practised as a solicitor in London, and now practises as a Will Writer in order to keep overheads down and fees reasonable for clients. Rebecca advises clients both locally in South Bucks and all over England & Wales via virtual meetings over Skype and FaceTime.
All initial enquiries are completely free of charge, and we offer affordable, fixed fees, so if you would like to set up powers of attorney, please call Rebecca D’Arcy on 01494 708688 or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form.
“We recently appointed Rebecca to make our Lasting Powers of Attorney. We found her incredibly professional whilst showing compassion and a genuine understanding of our wishes. I would highly recommend her at Chiltern Wills for the perfect service she provided.”Client Review, February 2020
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document in which you appoint one or more trusted people to act on your behalf, if you either needed some help to manage your own affairs, or completely lost the ability to do so. Lasting Powers of Attorney are not just for older people; your Lasting Power of Attorney could be used if you were to become ill or were involved in an accident and had to go into hospital, as well as if you developed dementia, or simply in old age.
The irony of a Lasting Power of Attorney is that you can only make one if you do not currently need to use one, so it is always a good idea to make one sooner rather than later.
Clients sometimes think that their husband/wife could simply run everything for them, if they lost the ability to do so themselves. Unfortunately, without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, they will not be allowed to do so. If you have ever had the thankless task of needing to try and persuade, for example, a bank or utility company to talk to you about an account held in somebody else’s name, you will know to your cost that they are most particular on the subject!
Dementia is so prevalent nowadays, with our aging population and with people living longer than ever before, that most of us will know at least one person who is currently suffering from it. There are believed to be 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia at present, and 1 in 3 people now born are expected to develop dementia during their lifetime. Many of us will already have experienced this challenge affecting our own families. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney is a practical step that you can take now, to give you control over who would be making decisions for you in that situation. You will know that you have empowered your trusted attorneys to help you maintain your safety and comfort, and the dignity and respect that you deserve, both personally and financially, throughout your life.
What type of Lasting Power of Attorney do I need?
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney available – ‘Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs’ (sometimes known as a ‘financial power of attorney’) and ‘Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare’ (or ‘medical power of attorney’). Ideally, everyone should have one of each in place, because they do completely different jobs.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs enables your attorneys to manage your finances for you, exactly as you would yourself – for example to pay bills, use your bank account, deal with your investments and even to buy or sell a home for you. You can choose whether you wish your attorneys to be able to act immediately, or only if you were no longer able to understand and make financial decisions yourself.
It is usually good practice to include a ‘discretionary investment management’ clause, which gives your attorneys the option of having an investment portfolio managed for you on a discretionary basis. If this clause is not included, your attorneys may find that they cannot delegate the making of investment decisions.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare allows your attorneys to make decisions about matters such as giving or refusing consent to medical treatment, staying in your own home with support from social services, moving into residential care, choosing a good care home and even your diet, dress or daily routine. In the deed, you will have the option to allow your attorneys to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare may only be used once the donor has lost mental capacity to make the decisions, and not before. Nonetheless, the deed should be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian straight away, when it is made.
Enduring Power of Attorney
You may have in place an old-style Enduring Power of Attorney, made before the Lasting Power of Attorney regime was introduced in 2007. These are still valid in relation to decisions regarding your property and financial affairs, but they do not empower your attorneys to make decisions about your health and welfare, which can be very problematic. If you have an Enduring Power of Attorney, it would be a good idea to make a new Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, to sit alongside it.
Do my Powers of Attorney need to be registered?
Yes, once you and your attorneys have signed your powers of attorney, they need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, which is a public body which oversees how attorneys use their powers.
Th Office of the Public Guardian charges £82 per deed to register Lasting Powers of Attorney.
What if my attorneys do something they shouldn’t?
Your attorneys are under a strict duty to act in your best interests at all times. If someone has concerns about the way in which an attorney is using their powers, they should report them to a public body called the Office of the Public Guardian, which oversees how attorneys use their powers. The Office of the Public Guardian would fact find and then launch an investigation, if warranted. It has the power to remove attorneys, and ultimately the matter could end up being taken further either by the police or by social services.
What if I lose capacity but haven’t got around to making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Your family would need to apply to court to appoint what is called a deputy to act on your behalf. In that situation, unfortunately you would have no control over who was appointed to fulfil this vital role for you, and the deputyship application process is a lot more expensive and long-drawn-out than making Lasting Powers of Attorney, so it is far preferable to make Lasting Powers of Attorney whilst you have capacity to do so.
How much does it cost to make a Power of Attorney?
We offer affordable, fixed fees, which are substantially lower than those of typical local solicitors, according to our market research. We can do this because of our low overheads, and because we are not obliged to charge VAT. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.