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Removing the worry of illness with a Power of Attorney

Power of attorney arrangements allow an individual’s financial and health affairs to be looked after by someone else, the attorney, if they lose mental capacity in the future. Tony Delvalle of The Spectrum IFA Group explains how they can help to relieve stress at the most difficult of times.

 

Tony Delvalle

Taking the UK as an example, several million “lasting” agreements have been registered since 2008, when they replaced “enduring” power of attorneys amid concerns that the rules were too easy to abuse.

This sharp rise in new agreements follows the Office for National Statistics revealing that dementia and Alzheimer’s accounted for almost one in eight deaths in 2015. That’s a total of 61,686 people, overtaking heart disease as Britain’s biggest killer.  Sadly, the numbers are increasing.

Without power of attorney, friends and family would have to retrospectively prove why they should assume responsibility. This process incurs court fees and can take many weeks, leaving accounts locked until a decision is made.

As a British citizen in France you can choose either a UK “lasting power of attorney” (LPA) for Health and Welfare or Property and Financial, or a French “mandat de protection future” (MPF). The choice will depend on where you intend to live now and in the future, and where the main part of your estate is.

A UK Health and Welfare LPA covers daily routine, moving into a care home and life sustaining treatment. The UK Property and Financial LPA covers managing bank or building society accounts, collecting benefits or a pension, selling the home. The French MPF covers all aspects of financial and health well-being.

The facts:

  1. As a British citizen living in France, which law would govern the administration of your estate in case of incapacity?  French law will be applicable under the provisions of the Hague Convention.
  2. How can the MPF be administrated?  This can be held in trusteeship or guardianship.
  3. Could you prepare for a physical or mental incapacity by appointing somebody you trust to administer your estate, pay your debts, manage your income in France?  Yes of course.
  4. Would that power of attorney be applicable and enforceable abroad?  Yes, it would be efficient in most countries and in 100% of the countries who ratified the Hague Convention. You could prepare an LPA or MPF and both should be applicable.
  5. Does the French MPF have a limited scope? Can the attorney sign a deed of sale on your behalf?
    a) A notarial mandate allows the powers of guardian to sell real estate on your behalf.  b) A mandate not supervised by the Notaire allows administration by an appointed trustee plus a Judge.

So both are legal and which one is best for you will depend on a number of factors such as what your assets are, where they are held and in what way, i.e., jointly or individually, what you want from them, and, inheritance planning etc.

First published in the May/June 2019 issue of The Local Buzz.

Images: Spectrum IFA and Shutterstock