Powers of Attorney
Have you ever thought what would happen if you were unable to manage your affairs? Millions of people put their affairs at risk by not having a Power of Attorney in place for themselves.
The inability to manage your affairs could be temporary and short term (such as a planned operation and hospital or respite stay, or a six month holiday abroad), but more often than not it is sadly more long term or permanent (such as dementia, long term or deteriorating health issues) and can be sudden, by way of a stroke or accident.
It is only right that you continue to have control of your assets during such period of mental or physical incapacity and hence why is it so important to put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place to not only protect your assets, but also to ensure that your loved ones are aware of your wishes whilst you are able to express them.
There are two separate applications. One deals with decisions as to your health and welfare and the other as to your financial property and affairs. The process is relatively straight forward and you will have the option to appoint up to four attorneys to act on your behalf.
Lasting Powers of Attorney can only be completed if you have mental capacity. Should therefore you lose the necessary capacity your family and loved ones will be required to make an application to the Court of Protection for formal authority to act on your behalf. The process is not only lengthier but also considerably more costly.
These documents are incredibly important to protect the ability to continue with and operation of any business or partnership you may have. This is particularly true for sole traders. For example, should a farmer, who is a sole trader, suddenly lose capacity then the running of the farming business becomes very difficult immediately. In this scenario, no party will have authority to step in and run the business, to include buying/selling stock, feed; liaising with the Government as to subsidies and grants; paying any mortgage or loans etc. The bank accounts will be frozen and in the meantime your loved ones will need to make an application to the Court of Protection for formal authority which can take up to six months to process.
Should you lose capacity, without any form of Power of Attorney, then it will make managing your affairs incredibly debilitating in that your bank accounts will be frozen, you will not be able to sell your property and your family will not have the necessary powers to make important decisions as to your health and care needs.
The benefits of having a Lasting Power of Attorney are clear: the people who have control over your affairs are those that have been appointed and chosen by you; it is in place and able to be used immediately should it be required; this route is considerably cheaper than the alternative option of the Court of Protection route and there is minimal disruption to your business, affairs and care.