While you may think that a Lasting Power of Attorney is something that only needs to be considered later in life, it is, in fact, never too early to plan for what may happen. In the same way that we buy insurance – just in case – it makes sense to put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place – just in case. Sadly, mental or physical incapacity can strike at any age.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document giving a trusted person or persons (your attorney/s) the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime regarding your finances, property, health and general welfare.
As long as you are over 18 then a Lasting Power of Attorney can be put in place at any time while you have the mental ability to understand its nature and effect on both you and your chosen attorney/s.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney in Jersey – one that deals with your property and financial affairs and one that deals with your health and welfare.
Types of Lasting Power of Attorney
Property and Affairs – your chosen attorneys can assist with paying bills, investing money, maintaining your immovable property and generating rental income. Should you run a business, a Lasting Power of Attorney can also allow your attorney/s to assist with the continuation of your business affairs, such as paying wages.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for property and affairs can, if you so choose, take immediate effect upon registration in the Royal Court notwithstanding the fact that you may still have full mental capacity. This can be useful if, for example, you are unable to get to the bank or sign documentation.
Health and Welfare – your attorneys are able to make decisions about future care plans, where and how you should receive care and how you are to be treated medically in accordance with your prior instructions. Your Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney will only take effect following a diagnosis of loss of capacity.
Given the nature of these decisions, it is important that you appoint someone you trust to be your attorney/s.. Those people do not have to live in Jersey.
There are real advantages to putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. If you should lose capacity without one– whether through illness or perhaps even a sporting accident – and need someone to look after your affairs, then a delegate will need to be appointed. This requires an application to the Royal Court.
Given that this only happens after a person loses capacity, that person also loses the ability to choose who they would want as delegate. It can also be a costly process and the delegate has certain responsibilities to the Court in this important role.
Life is unpredictable, so why should we feel any more out of control than we have to? Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney can be a straightforward process which, once in place, provides long-term peace of mind. We strongly advocate that everyone, regardless of age, considers putting one in place.
We at BCR Law LLP have extensive experience in preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney. We can attend to all the paperwork required for the application and then submit that application to the Court for you.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch with our Wills and Probate team on email@example.com if you would like to discuss how we can help.
By Emma Wakeling, Partner and Kelsi Rendell, Legal Assistant.