How Do I Protect My Finances As I Get Older?
As we get older, we turn our attention more and more to planning for the future and making provisions for all eventualities. We want everything to be in place to ensure that our affairs are managed correctly when we can no longer make our own decisions. We want our loved ones to be provided for and any stresses for them to be minimised. This leads to concerns about just how our money, property and decision-making will be affected if we lose our mental capacity.
You may have been diagnosed with a condition, had a friend taken ill or simply decided it is time to look into preparing your financial situation for the future. No matter the reasons why, it is best to act sooner rather than later in these matters and have peace of mind.
When it comes to planning your future and managing your financial affairs from a legal perspective, it is not about a quick fit-all solution. Instead a carefully constructed plan is needed, one that ensures your long-term interests and covers off all the finer details to your satisfaction.
Although it can be stressful thinking about uncertainties in your future, there is no need to worry. By speaking to an expert from Burt Brill and Cardens, you are guaranteed a professional that is happy to take the time to listen to all of your thoughts and concerns, and provide expert advise. With attention to detail and a genuine interest in your needs, you will see your worries put at ease one by one.
When it comes to planning for older age, everyone’s circumstances are radically different and that is why at Burt Brill & Cardens Solicitors we treat each individual on a case-to-case basis. There is not a fit-all solution in this complicated area of law. There are legal provisions that can set out exactly who, what and when decisions are made on your behalf.
How can I make sure my loved ones look after my money should I become mentally incapacitated?
You want your hard-earned money and assets to go to the people you love and not elsewhere. You also want someone you trust to be able to make important decisions should you be unable to make them yourself. You may want to make sure your grandchildren and children are financially provided for if you no longer have the ability to arrange it. One of the legal documents that can help safeguard your financial potential in the event of mental incapacity is a Lasting Power of Attorney.
If at some point in your future you are unable to make your own decisions, then you can appoint a friend, family member or a solicitor to make them on your behalf. You can do this through a Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows someone that you trust to make important decisions based on your best interests.
It can cover everything from day-to-day decisions to much bigger and more important decisions. You are able to decide just how much power your chosen person (attorney) will have over your affairs. This can include giving them power to decide on your welfare but not your healthcare.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and you can decide whether to make one type or both.
1. Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
Involves decisions on your money and property. This can occur when you are no longer able to make decisions or when you still have full mental capacity.
2. Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
Involves making decisions on your personal healthcare and welfare. This type of LPA can only be used after you lose capacity – there is no option to use it before this time.
Many people assume that their spouse or civil partner will automatically be able to deal with your financial affairs such as bills, bank accounts and pensions when you lose mental capacity. In reality, they are unable to do this without a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.
Areas that a Lasting Power of Attorney Can Cover
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a powerful legal document and requires much consideration. It makes sense to get familiar with which areas that they deal with so you can consider how much control you want to give and in which areas. The following areas are covered:
Property and Financial Affairs LPA Decisions on:
- Payment of bills
- Selling property
- Mortgage payments
- Investing money
- Arranging repairs to your property
Health and Welfare LPA Decisions on:
- Where you live
- What you eat
- How you spend your time
- Who you see
- Medical treatment you receive
What happens if I am already unable to make my own decisions?
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 states that an individual is unable to make a decision if they can’t do one of the following:
- understand information relevant to a decision
- retain that information long enough to make the decision
- use or weigh that information
- communicate the decision
If you find yourself in this situation, then a different legal process must occur. By setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney before you become mentally incapacitated, you help your loved ones avoid a long, expensive and what can be intrusive process of applying to be your deputy through the Courts of Protection. However, if this is the position you and your loved ones are in, then we can help you through the process, providing the support you need.
How Burt Brill and Cardens Can Help You
Burt Brill & Cardens have been operating as solicitors in Sussex since 1897. We know more than most that everyone’s circumstances are unique and that is why we take time to meet you face to face and discuss your situation in detail. We have power of attorney experts in Brighton, London, East Grinstead, and Worthing so that we can come to you.
We appreciate that you will have questions about exactly what happens to your finances in the event that you are no longer able to make your own decisions and will want to give this matter the attention it deserves. We work at your pace and treat it on a case-by-case basis. We are here to help you and put your security above all else. To arrange a meeting call us today on 01273 604123.