For a number of years, I had advised an existing client with increasing ill-health to arrange Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Her response was generally dismissive as she felt it unlikely that she would lose her capacity to make decisions.
Last Summer, she suffered a serious stroke and is now being cared for in a residential facility. She is unable to communicate, and until recently was unable to receive visitors.
Both she and her son are tenants in a property, however it is her name only which is upon the tenancy agreement. They have lived in the same property for many years, and although their current lease is protected, the landlord wishes to sell the property and he requires official agreement from the tenant. This is no longer possible and is causing both the son and the landlord a great deal of unwarranted stress, as nothing can be agreed upon or changed without written permission from my client, who can no longer provide it.
Therefore, her son is now having to apply to a court for limited permission to deal with his mother’s financial affairs, including the tenancy impasse. This process began in August 2020, has so far cost £365 and is yet to receive a legally beneficial outcome. If it is ultimately decided that a court hearing is necessary, the cost will increase further by hundreds of pounds. Thereafter, even if limited permission is granted, there will be ongoing annual fess of at least £335. Not to mention the cumulative cost in time to which these delays are contributing.
Had his mother decided to arrange LPA previously, this would have cost her no more than £264 in money and approximately 3 months in time. There would have been no further costs, and her son could have been legally acting upon her behalf since immediately after she lost her capacity to make decisions.
If a vulnerable person decides against arranging LPA whilst they maintain their mental capacity, someone close to them will have no choice but to follow a lengthy and expensive court process if mental capacity is subsequently lost. Therefore, this arduous burden is simply transferred to an unsuspecting family member.
We tend not to consider the ripple effect of how many aspects of our lives require our written agreement, or how many other people are negatively affected once we are no longer able to provide this.
Prevention is far cheaper and easier than cure.
Please see our Power of Attorney page for further details.