Lasting Power of Attorney for Expat Investors
Research by the Alzheimer's Society suggests that two-thirds of people who have sought financial advice have a lasting power of attorney (LPA) in place, but this, potentially, means a significant proportion of Brits do not have the protection that LPA offers.
Unfortunately, there is a common misconception among many expats (highlighted in a survey of UK expats conducted by Old Mutual International in 2017) that a spouse, child or financial professional can automatically sign documents and manage the welfare and monetary matters of a person who loses mental capacity. This is not the case; your family members could be left vulnerable should you become unable to manage your affairs without having LPA in place.
Good expat financial advice would generally advocate local legal advice to help ascertain whether or not an existing LPA, i.e. one that was drawn up in the UK, is valid in your location of residence. Generally speaking, however, common law jurisdictions will recognise a British lasting power of attorney, but it is always worth checking.
Not as simple as UK LPA in all jurisdictions
In Spain, for instance, there are two legal documents which perform distinct tasks should a person (the donor) lose mental capacity. Poder Preventivo or Preventative Power of Attorney (PPA) allows a nominated adult to handle the financial affairs of the donor after a pre-determined date or once a doctor has confirmed the donor's mental incapacity.
Autotutela,or Appointment of Tutor, deals with health and welfare decisions, such as where the person would live and how they would be cared for. However, the appointee would still have to apply to courts to handle real estate and other assets.
Certain jurisdictions will need you to register your UK LPA with a relevant authority to authenticate it and in some countries the test for mental capacity is different to that of the UK.
Without a suitable power of attorney document in place, your family would have to make an application to the Court of Protection (or other jurisdictional power) to make decisions on your behalf once lack of mental capacity has been established. This can be a long, drawn-out process.
So, if you have received expat financial advice from Blacktower why not check with us again to see if you are protected adequately should anything happen to you. We can help you source the right legal advice to ensure all your power of attorney affairs are in order.
If you've worked hard to ensure your wealth and assets are secure and optimised towards reaching your financial goals, it is especially important to ensure you are protected.