We delighted to announce that Hall Reynolds LLP have been shortlisted for Best Regional Firm and Small Conveyancing Team in the LFS Conference and Awards. The event is taking place at the Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham on the 19th September.

The LFS Conference and Awards is a prestigious event on the conveyancing calendar which attracts leading professionals and suppliers from the whole of the UK. Congratulations to our team for putting us on the shortlist – we wish you the best of luck on the awards night!

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. They are a powerful and important part of future planning.
There are two types of LPA:

  • Property and Financial Affairs LPA Concerning decisions about property and finance
  • Health and Welfare LPA Concerning decisions about healthcare and welfare

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

It’s a wise precaution to appoint an attorney to deal with your affairs in the event that you become mentally incapacitated. This type of LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used, so the document has no au-throaty until that time.

There is no requirement for the onset of mental incapacity for you (the Donor) to register the LPA – it can be registered for a variety of reasons that simply make it more practical for you to have an Attorney acting on your behalf.

It covers a wide range of decisions relating to property and finance including:

  • Buying or selling property, and other investment decisions
  • Paying the mortgage and other bills
  • Giving people access to the financial information of the Donor (the per-son who created the LPA);
  • Arranging repairs to a property and other practical decisions

You can restrict or specify the types of decisions you wish your Attorney to make on your behalf.
Once registered, the Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used infinitum, and it becomes a very powerful document.

Health and Welfare LPA

This type of LPA covers decisions about health care as well as personal welfare. It differs from the Property and Financial Affairs LPA in that it can be used only if someone has become mentally infirm. If the Donor is mentally capable but physically infirm an Attorney cannot make a decision about their health and welfare – the Donor can make it themselves.
Again it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
Decisions an Attorney can generally make on a Donors behalf:-

  • Whether the Donor should consent to a certain type of medical or life sustaining treatment;
  • Where the Donor should live, what they should eat, decisions about their lifestyle

You can restrict or specify the types of decisions your Attorney can make or you can allow them to make all decisions on your behalf
Should you ever be unable to make personal welfare decisions for yourself your Attorneys have a duty to consult you at all times in any decisions made on your behalf.

When can the LPA be used?

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 has ensured that there are further levels of protection in place for the Donor of an LPA.
Your Attorneys will only be able to act for you once the LPA has been signed and then certified by an independent person to confirm that you understand the document and have not been pressurised into signing it. As mentioned above it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
Also, the application process for registration of the LPA to the OPG requires a certain procedure including notice being given to a third party of the intention to register the document. This is to protect you if you did not want the document to be registered until a future date and your Attorneys rather than you make an application for registration.

Practicalities

It goes without saying that a Donor should only appoint Attorneys that they trust to make the same decisions that they would if they were able to.
It is advised that more than one Attorney be appointed, and that all Attorneys are authorised to act individually as necessary.
What happens if you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney in place?
If you do not have a Property and Financial Affairs LPA or an Enduring Power of Attorney in place and you become mentally incapable of making your own decisions it is likely that an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection for an Order appointing somebody else (a Deputy) to act on your behalf

By appointing your own Attorneys, you will avoid the increased costs involved in appointing a Deputy, and of decisions being made about your Deputy without your input or approval.

Making a Will doesn’t have to be complicated, and once it’s in place it can be simply
updated to reflect your changing circumstances.

The main reasons for making a will are:

Reassurance:
A will ensures that, in the event of your death, your assets will be inherited by the people you choose. Without a Will, the intestacy rules govern who inherits what.
Dying intestate (without a Will) can cause a great deal of worry and upset for your family and dependants and your estate may not pass to those you wish to benefit.

Avoiding problems: If you die intestate (without a valid will) you are inevitably causing difficulties for those you leave behind. Your next of kin would have to distribute your assets according to the Laws of Intestacy – not necessarily what you would want, and certainly not taking into account any bequests you might wish to make outside the immediate family.

Leaving a will should remove any doubt about your wishes, and prevent uncertainty, disputes, and upset.

Protecting your assets for future generations:
A will can ensure that assets are kept within the family and are passed on down the generations. As the dynamics of modern families become more complicated, a well-structured will becomes increasingly important.

Saving on Inheritance Tax (IHT):
With a carefully planned will, you can reduce or eliminate the Inheritance Tax bill on your estate after your death.

Funeral arrangements:
You can include in your will wishes such as whether you want to be buried or cremated; where you would like your funeral to take place; details about the ceremony; where you would like to be interred, and any other details that are important to you.