Elderly Client Services – Lasting Powers of Attorney & Court of Protection
Tel: 08444 933669
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
If you are wanting someone to act for you when you are unable to make your own decisions, we recommend a lasting power of attorney rather than an ordinary power of attorney.
A PERSONAL APPROACH
Any services we provide for the elderly are carried out with the company ethos ‘A Personal Approach’ at all times, if you cannot come to us then we will come to you.
RESIDENTIAL CARE PLANNING
What can you do to protect your assets as you get older? Putting your affairs in order often covers several different areas, and if you are concerned about residential care planning, or the protection of your assets, you should take a comprehensive view of:
Transferring ownership of your property.
Inheritance Tax Planning.
Making an updated Will.
Powers of Attorney.
The creation of Trusts.
HOW WOULD YOUR RESIDENTIAL CARE HOME FEES BE PAID?
The majority of your income (pensions, interest on savings, dividends etc.) would be used to pay the residential care home fees. If that isn’t enough, you would have to pay the extra amount from your capital, until it is reduced to the prescribed capital limit (which currently differs in England and in Wales) when Local Authority help is available. At this point, the Local Authority would have to pay in full up to weekly fee levels decided by that authority.
Capital limits in Wales:
The capital limit is £24,000.00. You will be expected to pay the full fee until your capital is reduced to this level.
Capital under £24,000.00 is fully disregarded by the Local Authority.
Capital limits in England:
The upper capital limit is £23,250.00.
The lower limit is £14,250.00.
If your capital is above the upper limit, you will not normally receive any help with care home fees.
If your capital is between £14,250.00 and £23,250.00, £1 a week for every £250.00 is taken into account as income – so if you have £15,000.00 in capital, you will be treated as if you had an extra £4 of income a week.
Capital under £14,250 is fully disregarded by the Local Authority.
FURTHER CAPITAL RULES IN ENGLAND & WALES
The value of your property will be disregarded:
For the first 12 weeks of your stay in a residential care home, or for longer if it turns out that your stay is temporary.
If it is occupied by your partner, a lone parent who is your estranged or divorced ex-partner, a relative who is aged 60 or over, your child who is under 16, or your child who is incapacitated.
Some forms of capital can be disregarded, for example:
The value of personal possessions.
Payments from personal injury trust funds.
The surrender value of Life Insurance policies.
Savings in a joint account are presumed to be owned in equal shares by a married couple or by civil partners.
Please note that the above rules for England changed in April 2016, with the government’s implementation of the recommendations of the ‘Dilnot commission’. There is also likely to be a lifetime cap on the amount of capital that a Local Authority may claim, to be set at £72,000.00. However, the position in Wales is undecided at the time of writing, as the Welsh Assembly government has yet to respond to the findings of the Dilnot commission.
Please contact us to discuss how our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team can help you with your Residential Care Planning.
LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY (LPA’s) & COURT OF PROTECTION
What is an LPA?
An LPA is a legal document under which a person (the Donor) gives legal authority to one or more other people (the Attorneys) to carry out matters on his or her behalf. An LPA can be drawn up at any time while you have the necessary mental capacity, but it has no legal standing until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Bridger & Co can prepare an LPA for you and assist you with the registration process. There are two types of LPA’s.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA’s
This allows your Attorneys to manage your financial and property affairs on your behalf.
Health and Welfare LPA’s
This allows your Attorneys to make health and welfare decisions for you, including treatment you receive and where you live; it can, however, only be used if you do not have the necessary mental capacity to make your own decisions. The ability for your Attorney(s) to be able to refuse or consent to medical treatment on your behalf, is also included within the LPA’s.
You may also wish to make an Advance Directive or Decision (a legally-binding document refusing some or all medical procedures, which is commonly known as a “Living Will”) and Bridger & Co can advise you on this.
REGISTERING AN LPA
An LPA has no legal standing, and can therefore not be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Either the Donor or the Attorney(s) can apply to register the LPA and the application can be made at any time after the LPA has been signed by all parties.
Before the application to register the LPA is made, any nominated persons who have been named by the Donor will have to be notified of the application. If any of the notified parties disagree with the registration of the LPA, then at this point they can object.
BENEFITS OF HAVING An LPA
An LPA provides the opportunity, whilst you are of sound mind, to give instructions to your Attorney(s) regarding the future handling of your healthcare, finances and other important matters.
If you become unwell and do not have an LPA, your family would have considerable difficulties in accessing your bank accounts in order to pay bills, etc.
If you become mentally incapable and do not have an LPA, then your family would need to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to act on your behalf. This can be a lengthy and very expensive process during which your bank accounts are likely to be frozen, and therefore your bills and other direct debits may remain unpaid. By making an LPA, these problems can easily be avoided and expense saved.
LPA’S v ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY (EPA)
LPA’s replaced EPAs on the 1st October 2007. If you signed an EPA prior to the 1st October 2007, then this will continue to be legally valid. EPAs cover your financial affairs only. If, however, you now feel that you need to appoint an Attorney to act on your behalf, in respect of your health and welfare, then you will need to sign a Health and Welfare LPA which will run alongside your existing EPA.
Please kindly Contact Us to discuss how our specialist elderly client services team can help you.