Thinking about Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) is not just something older people need to do – everyone should write one, in my opinion
Let’s be honest, writing a will and an LPA isn’t top of anyone’s to do list – it isn’t even at the bottom. But it’s important, not just so that someone will have your best interests at heart should you fall ill or be in an accident, but also so thT your loved ones know who should be making the big decisions if you’re not able to. If you’ve lost your mental capacity, it’s too late and your loved ones may struggle to gain control of your affairs.
It’s a grim truth that accidents can happen at any age, which is why putting together an LPA is something young people should consider, as well as old, including the four in ten Britons who feel they’re too young and healthy to need an LPA, identified in recent research by SAGA.
So what is an LPA?
It’s a way of giving legal authority to someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you lack the mental capacity to make them yourself. That could be a temporary loss of mental capacity – or permanent.
There are two types of LPA – one for health and care decisions and the other for financial. Under the former, your chosen attorney can make decisions about your medical care and where you live, whilst under the latter the choices will be around buying and selling property as well as paying bills. They have to be set up individually and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, at a cost of £110 each. If only one is relevant, then only set up one – for young people the health and care decisions of an LPA is possibly more relevant in case of sudden illness or accident; however that will also depend on your particular financial arrangements.
You can find all the information you need as well as the LPA forms to download at www.gov.uk. However, lots of people use solicitors and will writers to help navigate them as they are legally binding documents and certain wishes may have to be drafted carefully – for example, you may want to limit what your attorneys can do, which isn’t uncommon.
Here we have been helping people write LPAs since we started in 2012. Call us now on 0151 559 0695 for advice to ensure that, should you become incapacitated, your life is in the good hands of people you love and trust.
Famously, in Shakespeare’s will, he left his ‘second-best bed’ to his wife Anne and here at Border Wills we can help you set down your legacy too. Take inspiration from the quirkiest instructions ever left in wills – one thing they all prove is that writing a will doesn’t have to be deadly serious.
Chemist Fredric Baur patented the design of the Pringles tube in the 1960s, and requested in his will that some of his ashes be buried in one of his iconic inventions. Baur’s children honoured his request.
Famous contortionist and escapologist Harry Houdini left instructions that his wife Bess should hold a séance every year to see whether he appeared from beyond the grave. He wrote a note detailing the message he’d communicate from the other side. Bess faithfully held a séance every Halloween – the anniversary of his death in 1926 – for ten years.
The longest known will was made by Mrs Frederica Cook who died in 1925 – it was 95,940 words and four volumes in length. The shortest known will was made by a man who simply wrote ‘all for mother’.
People in Portugal got lucky – 70 people in Lisbon, to be precise – when their names were randomly selected from the phone directory by aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara. They were to become beneficiaries to his estate, which consisted of a 12-room apartment in central Lisbon, a house in the north of Portugal, a car and 25,000 euros. ‘Every day you hear of pranks people play,’ one of the shocked and initially suspicious benefactors told a Portuguese newspaper in 2007 when Luis Carlos had died and she’d received a phone call about her inheritance.
Forget leaving it all to the local cats’ home – Jonathan Jackson of Ohio, went one further when he drew up his will in the late 19th Century, bequeathing money for the creation of a ‘cat house’ in which the feline residents were to have their own sleeping quarters, dining hall, conversation room and auditorium where they could listen to the accordion. ‘It is man’s duty as lord of animals to watch over and protect the lesser and feebler,’ he stated.
US comedian and actor, Jack Benny, left a rather lovely legacy to his wife Mary after he died in 1974 – every day, for the rest of her life, the florist would deliver one long-stemmed, red rose to her door.
Wiltshire man, Stephen Cuthbert’s will, written in 2002 requested that, if possible, his body was to be transported to the crematorium in the back of a Cortina estate. In addition to this, ‘a piss-up is to be held at a venue to be decided by my trustees and to be funded entirely by my estate’.
When Albert Orton from Coventry died in 1888, he left his wife the sum of one farthing – because of ‘the treatment I have received at her hands’, according to his will, that included calling him a ‘rotten old pig’ when he broke wind in her presence, even though he was ill at the time.
Whether your bequests are barking or benevolent, we at Border Wills are your local will writing experts. Give us a call on 0151 559 0695 or email us on email@example.com for a chat about writing a will.
If you have a draw-down pension – that is a pension pot that you draw from as opposed to an annuity – then it is essential that you consider setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). The point about a draw-down pension is that it requires ongoing management until you die. For most people who are now retired it is likely that at some point they will be in a position where they are unable to do so on either a temporary or permanent basis. This means that, without the appointment of an attorney, they will be unable to instruct their adviser on making any alterations to their draw-down arrangements, with potentially devastating impact on the financial situation of themselves and their family.
There are two types of LPA, a Health and Welfare, and a Property and Financial Affairs. You can find out more by clicking through here. However you can only set one up whilst you have the mental capacity to do so. The alternative is for your relatives to apply to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy to manage your affairs; not only is this a slow process that could leave your family in financial difficulty in the meantime, or mean your investments lose significant value because your advisers were unable to manage them, but it is also much more expensive than making an LPA. Typically it could cost you (since the fees will eventually be drawn from your assets) upward of £2000, with ongoing costs on an annual basis. Clearly it is much better to sort this out now whilst you can select who you want to act as your attorney, rather than leaving it to others to do.
For more information contact me using the form, or call me on 0151 559 0695. Whatever you do, don’t delay.
Sir Jackie Stewart announced in June that his wife Lady Helen Stewart is suffering from dementia
The world champion Formula One driver explained that his wife of 55 years now requires around the clock care. Lady Helen, 75, was diagnosed with dementia 2 years ago, but this is the first time the racing driver has spoken about the changes he has seen in his wife.
Whilst he believes it is too late to help Lady Helen, he has launched a charity named Race Against DementiaÂ to seek a cure for dementia sufferers in the future.
According to the Alzheimerâ€™s Society 225,000 Britons each year are diagnosed with the condition.
It further highlights the need for people to have LPAs (Lasting Powers of Attorney) in place.
There are two types of LPA that currently exist, the first of which is a â€˜Health and Welfareâ€™ LPA. This type of LPA can only be used in situations where the donor does not have the mental capacity â€“ the ability to make decisions for themselves and cannot be invoked otherwise. There is some flexibility as to the extent of the powers the LPA can grant â€“ the appointed attorneys can only make specific decisions if you outline it to be so, for example making judgements such as daily routine and diet, right through to moving into supported care or agreeing to lifesaving medical treatment.
As well as the Health and Welfare LPA, there is the â€˜Property and Financial Affairsâ€™ LPA, which as the name suggests links directly to the personal property and money of the donor, and what the attorney can do with it. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used immediately upon registration, there is no requirement for the lack of mental capacity.
Many people opt to make both types of LPA, though there is no necessity to do so, you can opt to only make one or the other.
If mental capacity is lost prior to making a Lasting Power of attorney it can cost thousands of pounds through the Court of Protection with fees starting from Â£400, plus legal fees, insurance and supervision fees. It is cheaper and more straight-forward to do so whilst you are able.
To appoint an LPA please contact me using the form below.