What happens to a Lasting Power of Attorney when someone dies?
4 May 2021 by Lauren Hancock
Fisher Jones Greenwood Provide Advice on LPAs
A lasting power of attorney is a complex legal document that gives another person the ability to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf. Due to the power and authority that a power of attorney grants, it’s imperative that these documents be drafted and executed by a professional with experience. Fisher Jones Greenwood can make this process easier by explaining all the steps and how the arrangement is upheld. One of the most common questions about a lasting power of attorney is what happens to the arrangement after the person passes away. Our trained legal experts can help you understand and answer any other questions you have. Please reach out to us today for more information.
What Is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A lasting power of attorney is a legal tool that is set up to protect you and your family in the event that you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions on your own behalf. With a lasting power of attorney, you are able to give power to another trusted individual, like a family member, to make important decisions about your healthcare and financial affairs. This tool goes into effect in the event that you are incapacitated by an illness or injury and can no longer make decisions for yourself. You can set up how and when your chosen person, also known as an attorney, would take over decisions for you.
What Happens When the Person Passes Away?
When the person who set up the power of attorney passes away, the powers they granted to their attorney cease. This means that if you are appointed as an attorney for a family member, your capacity to deal with their affairs ends when they die. It’s important to know that your powers end here so that you do not take any actions on their behalf after their death, as this can lead to legal action. Rather, once the person passes away, their estate will be handled based on their final will and testament. Upon death, the power to deal with the deceased’s affairs will pass to their executors or personal representatives. Any actions you regularly took prior to their death, such as transferring monies from their accounts to pay bills, etc., must now be stopped so the estate can be settled.
Why You Need a Lasting Power of Attorney
Obtaining a lasting power of attorney is a vital part of any estate plan, as it helps you ensure you’re prepared for any possibility. There is no way to know what will happen in the future, and preparing for any event, even one where you become incapacitated, is in the best interest of you and your family members. It’s best to set up an LPA sooner rather than later to ensure a trusted person is given the power to make decisions on your behalf if needed. If you do not have a lasting power of attorney in place, your family may be forced to go through a very long and stressful court battle to be granted control of your finances. You can relieve this burden by setting up an LPA and naming a temporary attorney to act on your behalf.
Reasons to Use a Solicitor When Making an LPA?
If you are ready to add a lasting power of attorney to your estate plan, we suggest hiring an experienced Solicitor to help you draft and execute this legal document. Doing so will ensure that the document is properly completed and legally binding in the event that you become incapacitated, and a family member needs to take over decision-making. Our trained legal experts are here to help you through this process and can ensure you’re making sound decisions about the naming of your attorney. A solicitor can help you avoid problems when creating your LPA by:
- Providing advice about who you should appoint as your attorney and making sure those you wish to appoint are willing and able to act on your behalf and fully understand the responsibilities they’ll be assuming.
- Explaining the different ways in which attorneys can be authorised to make decisions, either on their own or jointly with other attorneys that you name.
- Helping you identify and nominate potential replacement attorneys in the event that your original choices cannot assume their role and act on your behalf.
- Drafting a document that clearly expresses your wishes, ensures it caters for all eventualities, and that all your wishes are capable of being carried out.
- Including specific language in your LPA that needs to be included to ensure funds held by banks and building societies can be managed on your behalf by your attorney.
- Providing advice on whether a separate LPA is needed to protect your business interests.
- Taking into consideration any personal circumstances that may mean an LPA does not provide all the protection you need, such as when you have property or assets abroad.
- Providing advice on how your lasting power of attorney may be used in instances where you own assets jointly with another person.
- Reviewing the actions you need to take to prevent your application for registration from being rejected by the Office of the Public Guardian.
- Preventing the challenge of the validity of your LPA by arranging for a doctor to assess your mental capacity if necessary.
Contact Us for Additional Information
If you have been named as an attorney or you want to draft a lasting power of attorney, Fisher Jones Greenwood is here to provide the advice and guidance you need. Please reach out to us today for additional information or to set up an appointment to speak to a trained legal expert. We have experience in all areas of estate planning on 01206 700113 or by email at [email protected].
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