At Powell Legal Consultancy we are committed to providing the highest quality of legal advice for older people, their families and carers. We are able to give advice and assistance on all the main areas of law which are most relevant to our more mature clients, including wills, will trusts, powers of attorney, property matters and simple ways to avoid paying excessive inheritance tax. We can also offer some guidance on Probate, Lifetime Trusts and Court of Protection applications but we cannot undertake work in these particular areas on your behalf.
Drafting and Updating Wills
Making a Will may seem complicated and expensive, but in the majority of cases this is not the case. If you do not make a Will the rules of intestacy will control the ultimate destination of your assets. You can also change elements of your current Will quite easily by using a Codicil, which effectively updates an already valid current Will. In most instances, where there is only a small change required, this will avoid the need to make a new Will.
Long Term Care Issues
Not everyone will need long term care, but it is true that the need for long term care in Britain is on the increase, due to the fact that we are all living longer, but not necessarily in full health. Clients often ask us questions relating to nursing and residential care. We can advise on whether you are entitled to have the cost of your care paid for by the NHS and also which assets the local authority will disregard when carrying out a financial assessment. It may be wise to consider property issues to ensure that your home is protected to avoid excessive care home costs.
Powers of Attorney – General
A General Power of Attorney (GPA) is a statutory form which authorises someone to act on your behalf and in your name. It can only be used with regard to your property and financial affairs. Unlike a Lasting Power of Attorney, it automatically ceases to have effect if you should become incapable of making the decisions conferred by the Power.
Otherwise, it will last until it is revoked by the Donor (the person who gives the Power) which ideally, should be in writing on the form itself saying ‘revoked’ or the form itself should be destroyed. A Deed of Revocation is also used. It would also be revoked if the Donor (or the Attorney) died or became bankrupt.
A Donor must be over 18, must have the capacity to grant it and must not be bankrupt. There are some limitations to the Power conferred to the Attorney. They cannot make gifts on the Donor’s behalf or perform a Donor’s role as a Trustee or a Personal Representative of someone’s estate. They cannot sign a Will on the Donor’s behalf, take action concerning the Donor’s marriage or delegate their Power to someone else.
It is a useful Power to deal with specific events such as leaving someone in charge of your finances while you are abroad, or having someone else able to sign your documents if you can’t get into town yourself that often. The Donor will be legally competent so the General Power of Attorney does not need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, unlike a Lasting Power of Attorney. For more information or to discuss this further, please contact us.
Powers of Attorney – Lasting
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney: one which deals with your property and financial affairs and the other, which deals with issues regarding your health and welfare. Unlike the General Power of Attorney, it is not revoked should you lose mental capacity afterwards but continues. It also needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. For more information, please get in touch.