We lawyers are often accused of making things difficult to understand; using terms like whomsoever, subject to the preceding clauses, the party of the first part, per stirpes etc. It is believed that this love of all phrases complicated is a ploy to put the lay-person off dealing with legal issues themselves and to drive them into the billable arms of a legal professional.
However, if only one Latin phrase can be said to be critical in Private Client work, it is:
Delegata potestas non potest delegari
This means ‘a delegate cannot further delegate their powers’.
So, if you are thinking about making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), it is crucial you appoint at least two attorneys, with replacements. The consequence of only appointing one attorney and no replacements is that, once you lose the mental capacity to make your own financial or health and welfare decisions, if your attorney finds themselves unwilling or unable to act on your behalf, you are left without anyone to handle your day to day affairs.
This means your relatives, friends or even the local authority may have to make an application to the Court of Protection on your behalf, which is complex and expensive and may lead to a Deputy being appointed whom you do not know (a distant relative perhaps) or who may charge for their services (a solicitor).
LPAs are strongly recommended for everyone who owns or jointly owns property, or who has specific wishes about how they wish to receive hospital or long term nursing treatment. They cost a few hundred pounds (as opposed to a Court of Protection application which may cost thousands) and the LPA takes 12 weeks to register at the Office of the Public Guardian.
Anything less than putting your affairs in order while you still have the mental capacity to do so, may mean your Lasting Powers do not last as long as you thought.
To speak to a member of our Private Client team about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please telephone 0161 832 3304.
For more information about Wednesday and her work, please click HERE.