Planning for Later Life
When thinking about later life, people tend to assume that making a will and sorting out pension arrangements are all what needs to be done when planning for retirement. Very few people consider what would happen to them, or indeed their families, following the onset of mental incapacity.
Around 750,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia and every one of them will need to be cared for and their financial affairs looked after.
I don’t want to paint a bleak picture, and understand that making these types of arrangements can be somewhat daunting. However, with the number of people suffering from the condition expected to rise to more than one million by 2021, the importance of having provisions in place to prepare for the future is becoming more apparent – making both Lasting Power of Attorney and wills hot topics.
I am a partner at Irwin Mitchell and she many cases first-hand if people don’t plan for the future. Very few consider this issue until it is too late unfortunately.
“If a client comes to us who has already lost capacity, we cannot at that stage draft a Lasting Power of Attorney for that client and we would need to, instead, apply for the appointment of a Deputy to the Court of Protection to look after that client’s financial affairs”
“Applying for Deputyship takes much longer than an application to register a Lasting Power of Attorney and costs are significantly higher. Court costs in themselves are much more costly than an application to register a Lasting Power of Attorney.”
In one instance, the husband of a client who had lost capacity suddenly following a stroke consulted Irwin Mitchell about what to do to gain access to her finances when she needed to go into care and fund her fees.
Our client’s bank account and investments were in her sole name and, as she had not executed a power of attorney, the funds could not be accessed and were frozen. Funds were obviously needed to pay for her care. Fortunately, her husband had some finances in his own name and was able to pay the fees for his wife. We’ve now been appointed as our client’s Deputy and have been able to access our client’s funds and repay her husband but this has been an expensive and time-consuming process. Had our client already executed and registered a Lasting Power of Attorney before she lost capacity this situation would have been prevented as the Attorney could have been used straight away to access her accounts and fund her care.
This case is a common one and really shows how valuable a Lasting Power of Attorney is and how important it is to plan for the unexpected. A Lasting Power of Attorney enables a person of your choosing to deal with your affairs during your lifetime and should be seen as an integral part of planning for the future. Coupled with a clear and concise will, written with the help of a legal expert, both documents can undoubtedly save loved ones much heartache in the future.
For more information about our legal services visit www.mccarthyanstone.co.uk/planahead or you can call Irwin Mitchell on 0845 8338493 for a confidential conversation with no obligation.