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Power of Attorney: Only for the Elderly?

01 December

Power of Attorney: Only for the Elderly?

Lasting Powers of Attorney, they are just for the elderly, right? As a private client solicitor, I often see clients who ask about powers of attorney but then say they will do them in the future as they are too young to worry about these things.

Lasting Powers of Attorney are something you put in place whilst you have capacity and hope they are not needed; an insurance policy if you will. They are not something which should wait until someone is starting to lose capacity, at that point it is often too late to make Lasting Powers of Attorney and in an unexpected emergency it takes too long if the Powers of Attorney are not already in place and registered.

This has been highlighted recently by TV presenter Kate Garraway’s struggle after husband Derek Draper sadly contracted COVID 19 and become incapacitated. Whilst Kate and her family struggled with the tragic news and dealing with the massive changes to their family, Kate found herself in financial difficulties as they had not put anything in place to allow her to deal with his finances for him; Derek had not put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney.

As a result, Kate was not able to access his bank accounts, credit cards or savings. She couldn’t re-mortgage the house or even deal with their mobile phone contracts. A Lasting Power of would have certainly made her life much easier during an incredibly difficult time, Kate now urges anyone of any age to seriously consider putting these documents in place.

If you lose capacity and someone needs to access your finances, without a Lasting Power of Attorney a Court of Protection application will be needed which ultimately has much longer timescales and carries significant costs. Aside from the application fee of £365 (in comparison with the Lasting Power of Attorney registration fee of £82) there is a one off assessment fee of £100, an annual supervision fee which can range from £35 – 320 a year, and deputy insurance which has to be put in place each year and a premium paid and a capacity assessment is needed to submit to the Court as part of the application, most health care professionals charge a fee for this.

A Court of Protection application can make a difficult situation even more stressful for your loved ones. Whilst it is hardly a topic you want to discuss; it is important to get in place the relevant documents to prevent a situation like that of Kate and Derek. We wish the Garraway family all the best and thank Kate for helping others at a difficult time for her family.

If you, or someone you know, needs help putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney, Bell & Buxton can help. If you have questions about any of these issues or any other questions about Powers of Attorney and how they work, please contact Sherelle O'Brien on 0114 2495969 or via email to s.obrien@bellbuxton.co.uk.