11th December 2014Category: General
Henry (not his real name), was unaware of the Lasting Power of Attorney process, and therefore did not apply for one when his wife first began to show signs of dementia. As his wife’s condition deteriorated, Henry needed to take on more and more responsibility for her financial affairs. Henry and his wife did have a joint bank account, but his wife had a number of investments in her own name that Henry needed to access. Sadly, Henry’s wife lost the mental capacity to consent to Henry taking on this responsibility, and this meant it was too late to apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Henry was left with just one option, and that was to begin the long and arduous process of applying to the Court of Protection. The Court of Protection is a specialist legal service provided by the government that makes decisions regarding the property, financial affairs, and health and well-being of a person who is considered unable to make those decisions themselves.
For Henry, this was “a complicated business” and very “invasive.” He explained that the process took around six months to complete, during that time he was unable to access his wife’s investments to help pay for her care. It was also costly, and today an application to the Court of Protection costs £400 to start the process with an additional £500 fee levied once the court has held a hearing. Whilst this money can often be reclaimed back from the funds of the incapacitated person, it can be a large expense to find up front.
Once Henry began the process, he was required to provide detailed information about himself and other family members, something he found be quite intrusive. Once the court order was in place, he was then required to provide detailed statements of the accounts each year to show where he had spent any money. This cost him around £200 to submit the account. Furthermore, any additional expenses over and above what had been agreed for the monthly expenditure for his wife’s care required an additional application process. For Henry, this meant that when his wife required a stairlift there was a long wait before he could access the funds to do so.
Sadly, Henry’s wife passed away in 2009. His experiences with the Court of Protection have led him to grant his children a Power of Attorney for himself, should a similar situation arise. He did not want his children to go through the same difficult and costly procedure that he himself endured. When asked if with hindsight whether he would have got an LPA in place for his wife when they were still able to do so, he simply stated “definitely.”
With a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can nominate a trusted person to take control of your affairs if you later become unable to manage them yourself. With an LPA, you can choose to have it used by your trusted person / people either when you wish to do so, or when you lose capacity to manage your affairs. This ensures that once the LPA is in place, you are still in control until you are unable to make decisions.
An LPA can only be granted whilst you have the mental capacity to agree to it. Once you lose capacity, your loved ones will be forced to go to the Court of Protection like Henry.
At West Cumbria Carers we offer a low cost Lasting Power of Attorney Service. In addition to the £110 registration fee charged by the Office of the Public Guardian (the government body responsible for granting LPAs), we charge an administration fee of £125.* This is far cheaper than most solicitors would charge. To find out more, please visit our LPA section on our website, or request an LPA application form by emailing LPA@westcumbriacarers.co.uk
*Information regarding fees was correct on 11th December 2014 and is subject to change.