An Insight into Lasting Powers of Attorney and When They're Used.

Let's start with the basics for those who don't know what Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are. There are two different Lasting Power of Attorney documents; one for your Property and Financial Affairs and another for your Health and Welfare.

There is a misconception that you should only prepare LPAs when you need them. This statement could not be further from the truth. It may even be too late to put them in place if you do not have the mental capacity to prepare such documents. You should prepare LPAs just in case you need them. You hope that you never will, but if you do, they're priceless.

 

Property and Financial Affairs.

The financial document can be used as and when you feel that you need assistance.

Let’s meet at Tom:

Tom is the big 80 next year, and thankfully, he is as fit as a fiddle. He loves going out and about, he often goes to the gym and tells stories about how he and his buddies mock the "young ones" as he calls them, he pays his bills at the post office, and he, therefore, doesn't need any financial assistance with any of his day-to-day finances.

However, put Tom on the telephone and he struggles!

His attorneys, therefore, use his LPA to assist him with anything that is done over the phone.

It is worth noting that the finances LPA is not about losing control.

Having a finances LPA is about ensuring that you have the freedom to choose who should look after your finances if you are ever found yourself in a position unable to do so.

The scenarios in which the finances LPA can be used are endless. You could be stuck in a foreign country, you could be in the hospital, or you might even lack the mental capacity to look after your finances. Having a finances LPA in place will mean that your attorneys can step in and act for you.

 

Health and Welfare.

The health LPA is completely different from the finances LPA.

The health LPA can only be used when you lose your mental capacity. So, whilst you can decide, for example, where you want to live, the type of medical treatment you would like to receive, the clothes you want to wear, and the music you like to listen to, no one can take that away from you.

However, if you lack the mental capacity to make any of those decisions, and without a health LPA in place, your family does not necessarily have the authority to make those decisions for you. Even though they may be the best people to do so.

The health LPA also has a section that covers life-sustaining treatment. Now, this doesn't mean that you must make decisions about what type of treatment you would like to receive in the

future. It simply provides medical professionals with guidance. It states whether you wish for your attorneys to be, either, included in any life-sustaining treatment decisions or whether you would like to leave that solely to the medical professionals.

 

Your attorneys would only be consulted if you did not have the mental capacity to make that decision yourself.

If we use Tom as an example again, yes, he has a health LPA but no it is not currently being used because he has the mental capacity to make those decisions himself.

It is important to understand that LPAs are not documents only to be prepared by the elderly. LPA documents are needed in all walks of life, business owners, cohabiting couples, married couples, and single persons. Everyone may find themselves in a position where they unexpectedly need an attorney to act for them and without registered LPAs, it may be impossible to do so.

If you wish to discuss your own circumstances, please contact The Kindred Collective to arrange a consultation.


The Estate of Caroline Flack

Caroline sadly died on the 15th of February 2020 after being the centre of a media storm. Caroline's death led mental health campaigners to promote awareness of mental illnesses and encouraged society to #bekind but what you might not know is that Caroline Flack did not leave a Will when she died.

It is reported that, after payments of debts and taxes, her estate was worth just over £827,000. So, what happened to her estate without a Will?

When a deceased does not leave a valid Will, the Rules of Intestacy govern who is legally entitled to the wealth you leave. In Caroline's case, this was her parents equally. This raises the question, is this what she would have wanted?

The sad answer to that question is that we will never know.

As mentioned, the Rules of Intestacy are there to establish who is entitled to any assets left behind but crucially, they are also there to help loved ones determine who is legally responsible to administer an estate without a Will. In Caroline's case, her parents would have been legally responsible for carrying out those duties.

The Rules of Intestacy do not discriminate; meaning that it may not necessarily always be the most appropriate person or people to carry out such an onerous task. The responsibility may also fall to someone you would not have chosen.

For instance, if you have minor children and they become entitled to your estate, via the Rules of Intestacy, the surviving parent with parental responsibility is obliged to administer the estate. The law does not consider whether the parents were romantically involved, or even speaking at the time of death. There may also be children from different relationships and all surviving parents must work together to finalise their affairs.

So, whilst we must remember Caroline's #bekind legacy, we must also consider making a Will to protect our loved ones.

If you have any questions about our blog post, please feel free to get in touch with The Kindred Collective.