Protecting personal affairs and assets
- Care Home Fees
- Powers Of Attorney
- Lasting Powers Of Attorney
- Mental Capacity
Care home fees
It is usually clear when a person has long-term care needs. Who is responsible for meeting those needs, and paying for them, is usually less clear. Care needs can be met by the NHS or Local Authority. Services provided by the NHS are free but those arranged by a Local Authority are means-tested. This is where the problem often lies. If a Local Authority arrange care they might require a significant contribution towards care fees. It is therefore vital that the correct decision is reached as to who is responsible for the cost of care. We can help advise if it appears that an incorrect decision has been reached and the steps required to rectify it.
Clients sometimes seek advice on methods of avoiding the prospect of having to pay care fees if they are taken into a care home in the future. Often family members seek advice on recovering fees already paid.
Powers of attorney
We advise on client’s wishes to appoint an Attorney to undertake all general tasks for a client. In some cases the Power is limited to a particular task. We advise on the steps to be taken to minimise the risks to a client and their Attorney, and ensure that both understand their duties and responsibilities.
Lasting powers of attorney
What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Lasting Powers of Attorney are documents which enable you to plan ahead and appoint another person (or several people) to act on your behalf and make decisions in the event that you were to lose your mental capacity and were not able to act or make decisions for yourself.
Is it the same as an Enduring Power of Attorney?
No. Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) have replaced the previous regime of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) from 2007. It is no longer possible to make an EPA, although if you have made one before the cut-off date in 2007, you will still be able to register this.
What are the two types of Lasting Power of Attorney I can make?
Property and Financial Affairs LPAs – which give someone else the ability to manage your finances. This would cover making decisions about your bank accounts, investments and any property you own.
Health and Welfare LPAs – which give someone the power to make decisions about your personal welfare. This would include deciding where you live, the ability to discuss any treatment options with your doctors, making decisions on who is to take care of you and so forth.
Can I make any limitations within the Lasting Power of Attorney?
Yes, you can provide guidance or limitations within the LPA.
Do I have to make both Lasting Powers of Attorney?
No. You can make just the one Lasting Power of Attorney (for example, simply to deal with your finances), or you can make one of each type, appointing different Attorneys for each LPA if you want. It really depends on what you consider to be appropriate for your situation.
For example, you might simply need someone to be able to collect your pension, settle your bills and make decisions on whether to sell your house for you, in which case you might only want to make a Property and Finance LPA.
How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The LPA forms are quite lengthy, and can take several hours to draft. However, we can prepare the forms on your behalf in accordance with the instructions you give us. We will then arrange to attend your home or you can come into our office if you prefer to ensure that the forms are signed property.
How can the LPAs be used?
Once signed by all necessary people, the LPAs will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before they can be used.
After registration, the LPAs may essentially be used by your Attorney(s) to act in any way (subject to any restrictions you might place upon them) in which you might yourself act. Health and Welfare LPAs can only be effective when you have lost capacity to make your own decisions.
Your Attorney will have to consider whether you are able (either alone or with their assistance) to make decisions yourself (even after you have lost capacity to make decisions independently), and must always act in your best interests.
Can I have more than one Attorney?
Yes. We can discuss various ways of appointing more than one Attorney if you wish to do this. We can also discuss the options for appointing replacement Attorney(s) to take over the role in the event that any of your Attorneys is unable to act (for example if they predecease you, become bankrupt or disclaim their appointment).
Many people are concerned about the amount of power a Lasting Power of Attorney can afford their Attorney, and the appointment of an Attorney is certainly a consideration which ought not to be made lightly. It is essential that your Attorney is a person (or people) who you can trust implicitly to make the right decisions for you, and their appointment deserves a considerable amount of thought.
Sometimes a client may have lost their capacity to manage their own affairs. This will require advising family members. In the event that a few practical suggestions do not resolve the problem an application to the Court of Protection might be required to look after the person’s affairs.