Claire Nelson Solicitor with AMD Solicitors advises putting your affairs in order.
No one likes to get old but as we do we must consider who will look after our affairs if we can no longer manage them ourselves.
We assume that if through reasons of mental or physical incapacity we could no longer look after our affairs then our families would be able to deal with them for us.
This is not true. The only two ways that this authority can be granted is either by a Lasting Power of Attorney or by an order of the Court of Protection known as Deputyship.
The process of applying to be appointed Deputy can be time consuming and costly. Whilst anyone can apply to be a deputy relatives closer than the applicant have the opportunity to object. A large amount of information relating to the family, the person's financial needs and assets and a medical statement needs to be supplied. There is an initial application fee, presently £400. The court may request further information and in some cases may determine it appropriate to appoint the Official Solicitor to represent the person for whom the application relates. If this is the case it will increase costs considerably.
Once the court accepts the application it must be served on all interested parties. The court will then consider the matter and decide whether or not to grant an order. Deputies must purchase a bond to the level set by the court which is to protect the financially vulnerable person from any wrong doing or mistake of a Deputy. The Deputy will have to keep accounts and submit them annually together with annual fees to the court.
The alternative and preferable solution is to give some thought now as to who you would like to act on your behalf and to grant that person a Lasting Power of Attorney. It may be to your spouse, your children or professionals such as Solicitors so that they will act with impartiality. A Lasting Power can only be prepared for somebody who has mental capacity and can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
So, if you would like peace of mind that the person you feel is best suited to look after your affairs is doing so then a Lasting Power of Attorney is a must.
Claire Nelson and her colleagues in the Wills probate and Trust team at AMD Solicitors can advise on Lasting Powers and Deputyship orders. Telephone 0117 9621205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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