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Based in Sevenoaks, Kent we are well located to assist with Power of Attorney matters in the immediate area and in nearby West Kent towns such as Bromley, Tonbridge, Orpington, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

Why do you need a Power of Attorney?

According to the Alzheimer's Society by 2025, 1 million people in the UK will have dementia and currently 1 in 5 people over the age of 85 are affected. It's never been more important to plan for the future to ensure your affairs are managed as you'd like them to be, should the time come where you lack the capacity to make those decisions yourself. It's not just the elderly who need to plan ahead, incapacity can strike the younger generations through injury or illness too.

Many people assume that if something happened to them through accident or illness that their next of kin will automatically be able to look after them. This is not the case: Your spouse/partner will not be able to access and manage your finances, or your personal property and your family will not be able to look after your health and welfare without making an application to the Court of Protection - which can be stressful and time consuming.

What is a Power of Attorney and how does it work?

If you want to make provision to give someone else the right to make specific decisions on your behalf, you can use a legal device known as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney in 2007. There are two types, the appointed person can manage:

  • your property and finances
  • and/or your health and welfare.
These powers are transferred to the attorney in the future should you reach a point where you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Though one difference to note is you can also elect someone to look after your property and finance whilst you still have capacity, whereas a health and welfare LPA can only come into effect once you have lost capacity. The person you choose to administer a property and financial affairs LPA is empowered to make decisions on things such as managing your bank accounts (dealing with bills etc), claiming benefits/pensions, buying/selling your property, investing your savings etc. The person empowered by a personal welfare LPA, is able to make decisions on matters such as where you live, medical treatment, who you have contact with etc. You can elect a different person to be Power of Attorney for property and finance than you choose for health and welfare.

How we can help

JE Bennett Law, are vulnerable client specialists, and we regularly deal with difficult circumstances regarding clients and their families - witnessing the stress this can cause to all involved. We strongly recommend people take out a Lasting Power of Attorney for the peace of mind it provides to all involved and to protect against these potential future difficulties.

You do not need to take legal advice to give Power of Attorney, forms and guidance are available from the Office of the Public Guardian. However, if you want advice on the process and to ensure that your intentions are laid out in a legally binding manner, we are very experienced in the process and are here to help - and if necessary, act as certificate providers (it's a requirement that someone certifies that you have entered into the LPA voluntarily and that you understand what you are entering into). As a matter of course, we will offer to review your Will and offer advice on other matters we feel might be relevant to your situation - for example trusts for grandchildren as a tax-efficient vehicle to plan for the longer term.

In the first instance, why not give us a call to arrange a free and confidential phone consultation to help you decide on the best way forward for your circumstances.