Have a plan! What happens if you can no longer manage your affairs? article banner image

Most people are aware of the importance of making a valid Will to ensure that their estates are administered by their appointed executors and that their estates are left to their chosen beneficiaries upon their death.If we fail to plan for our deaths and make a Will, then our estates would be dealt with according to the “Intestacy Rules”, which set out who is entitled to benefit, to what extent and in what priority.

So we are aware about the steps that we should take to plan for our deaths but what about the steps that should be taken to plan for incapacity which would arise during our lifetime and so by argument would affect us to a greater extent.

We may become incapacitated, whether that is physically or mentally, by a number of factors, including illness (such as dementia), an unforeseen accident or indeed could have been born with a form of disability. All of these factors would affect our ability to manage our affairs to differing degrees during our lifetime so it is important that we think carefully about this and take steps to plan for this eventuality so that we are prepared. We should make arrangements to ensure that our affairs are dealt with in the correct way and are handled by those that we would want to look after our affairs should something happen to us during our lifetime. This can be done by putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

There are two types of LPA:

1. The first type of LPA enables us to appoint an attorney to deal with our property and financial affairs.

2. The second type enables us to appoint an attorney to make decisions about our personal health and welfare when we are no longer able to make those decisions ourselves.

An individual can make one or both types of LPA and can appoint different attorneys under each.

If we fail to plan for our incapacity and make LPAs then it would be necessary for someone to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to manage our affairs on our behalf, which would be more costly and time consuming.

It is important to think about incapacity and take action whilst you can by putting in place a LPA. It is a form of insurance policy for you and your relatives so our advice is don’t put this off for another day but plan ahead.

Gabrielle Medland is a member of the firm’s Private Client team based in our Exeter office. If you would like more advice or assistance regarding making a Will, Lasting Power of Attorney or making an application to the Court of Protection please contact Gabrielle Medland (01392 210700 or private.client.exeter@stephens-scown.co.uk) or any of her colleagues in the Private Client teams in Exeter, St Austell and Truro.