13 Feb Why Have a Lasting Power of Attorney if you own a Property?
The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) lets you choose one or more people to be your attorneys, who will either act individually, jointly or jointly and severally on your behalf. Your Attorneys would be able to make decisions about money and property for you, such as paying bills, collecting benefits or selling your home. You can give them instructions and guidance on the decisions in the LPA. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used as soon as it is registered; or at a later date, such as when you have lost capacity.
In regards to your property, if you had lost capacity and do not have this type of LPA in place, you will not be able to do any of the following and nor will your loved ones:
- Sell your home; this applies even if you own your property jointly
- Make any changes to your mortgage
- Rent out your property
If you lose capacity without an LPA then your only option would be to make an application to the Court of Protection before your financial affairs could be dealt with. The Court of Protection can appoint a person to deal with your financial affairs, known as a deputy. An application to Court is an expensive and time consuming process and the deputy may not be the person you would wish to have control of your financial affairs.
We have seen examples where property transactions could not get through after exchange. We have seen people who have wanted to move house because their spouses had gone into care. There are many examples, however in all these situations if an attorney had been appointed these problems could have been avoided.
You should not just consider an LPA as necessary in the event of old age. An accident or illness at any time could render you incapacitated either mentally, or physically unable to execute documents but financial decisions may still need to be made to ensure you do not experience financial problems during that period.
While this article relates to Property and Financial Affairs LPAs you can also prepare a Health and Welfare LPA which deals with your wishes in regard to treatment, health and well-being. Your attorney could make the decisions regarding your care as opposed to the Local Authority. This can include daily routines, diet, medical care and where you may live.
If you would like to discuss this further please call us and a member of our Private Client Team will be able to help you. 01747 852377 for our Shaftesbury office or 01747 822005 for our Gillingham office.
This article was written by Harriet Burt, Trainee Solicitor, at Rutters Solicitors.