Although it’s not a subject many of us like to spend much time contemplating, research tells us that, as a result of our ageing population, an increasing number of people could lose the mental capacity to manage our own financial affairs. Unrelated to age, we could also unexpectedly lose the ability to manage our own affairs through accident or injury. The situation could also arise where we may have the mental capacity to manage our own financial affairs, but due to physical inability we may need help. In all of these circumstances we would require another person to manage our affairs on our behalf.
A person is unable to manage another’s financial affairs without legal authority to do so. Many families find themselves in the situation where they need to be able to access a relative’s finances on their behalf, but they are unable to do so without the required legal authority in place.
Preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for property and financial affairs provides you with the opportunity to name the person or people who you would like to have the authority to make financial decisions and manage your financial affairs on your behalf, and how, if the situation ever arose where you were unable to do so yourself.
There are also LPAs for health and welfare decisions which allow you to plan how your health and wellbeing will be looked after and by whom. One difference to the financial LPA is that the health and welfare LPA only becomes operational once the person making it has lost the capacity to make such decisions for themselves.
Should you lose the capacity to manage your own financial affairs and an LPA has not been prepared, then the only way another person could obtain authority to manage your affairs and deal with your finances would be to make an application to the Court of Protection to become your Deputy. This can be extremely costly and a very time-consuming process. In addition, you would have no control over who is appointed as your Deputy, or what decisions they can or cannot make.
Why not take the opportunity now to plan for the future by nominating who you would like to manage your affairs, and how, if you are ever unable to do so yourself?
We have an experienced team of solicitors who can offer advice and help you plan for your future. For a free, initial consultation, call our Wills & Probate team on 0113 201 4900.Back to Blog