How old do you think you’ll be when you lose capacity?
11th May 2020
It may seem like a daft question and “hopefully never” I hear you say, but did you know that every 90 seconds someone is admitted to the hospital in the UK with an acquired brain injury.
I have two lovely clients that are sadly incapacitated as a result of a catastrophic stroke. As they have no immediate family I look after their finances as a Deputy officially appointed by the Court of Protection.
Lovely and diligent as I am perhaps you would prefer to have a close family member look after your finances in the event that you lost capacity. The best way to do this is to put Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in place now and choose yourself who you want to look after your affairs in the event that this happens to you.
The most important thing to note about an LPA is that you must have mental capacity in order to obtain one. The person giving their power away is the Donor and they give their power to the Attorneys. You can have as many attorneys as you want and you can specify if they should act jointly at all or times or if you are happy for them to act independently. The “lasting” bit specifically refers to the fact that the power lasts beyond incapacity. So, if the Donor either permanently or temporarily loses capacity then the LPA can be used.
Although many couples have jointly owned assets, in a lot of cases couples will still maintain separate bank accounts often for tax reasons such as to take advantage of ISAs. If all assets are joint and one partner suffers from an injury or illness that affects their capacity then in reality their partner can still access funds to pay the bills, buy food, fix the roof etc.
However, with separate funds it can sometimes lead to distressing situations where the bank will not allow you to access your partner’s funds should they lose capacity. We have also been made aware of instances where banks have frozen joint accounts in certain circumstances.
The problems become more apparent when you are single or widowed.
So what age do you think is best – 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s?
How do I get an LPA?
Although you can obtain an LPA by doing it yourself we had a client recently who had been notified about his LPA and he didn’t know anything about it. He remembered signing something but did not fully grasp what it was for. It is frightening to think how easily the system can be abused.
Don’t put you or your family at risk get a fixed price quote from a Solicitor for the work so we can explain the risks and how to protect yourself, so that you fully understand what the process involves.
We have several people that can assist you here at McHale & Co but to get started please call and ask for Philippa Wright on 0161 928 3848 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org