The Government recently announced plans to drop the fees involved in applying for power of attorney from £130 to £110. While this is good news, there are probably a lot of people who are unsure of what “power of attorney” actually is. Basically, Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint a trusted person or persons to make decisions on your behalf, should you be rendered incapable.
There are two different types: one that concerns health and welfare and the other that deals with property and financial affairs. Health and welfare attorneys decide on things like medical care, moving into a care home and what you will eat and wear on any given day. Property and financial attorneys deal with paying bills, collecting benefits and any necessary property sales.
When it comes to choosing an attorney, you should decide on someone you trust absolutely. The majority of people who opt into a power of attorney agreement are a little older and there have been reports in the past of financial abuse from younger, less affluent family members or friends. Sick and elderly people are more vulnerable than most, so you must think carefully about handing over power of attorney. Make sure that whoever you choose is willing to keep detailed records of any spending done on your behalf, and that they are willing to produce them whenever you request them. Be sure that the arrangement benefits you and not them, and never approve a situation in which your assets and theirs mix in any way.
As mentioned, power of attorney is usually utilised by people of advancing years, who may find that their health is deteriorating. However, it’s something that everyone should consider. Young, healthy people aren’t immune to accidents that may render them unable to cope with medical or financial affairs. So, morbid as it may sound, it’s good to plan for every eventuality.
For more information, checkout the Prestige Tax and Trust Services website.