What is Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you nominate someone you trust to manage your financial affairs or your welfare when you lack the physical or mental capacity to do so. There’s a lasting power of attorney which allows you to nominate a person to deal with your property and finances. There’s also a lasting power of attorney in which you can appoint a person to sort out your health and welfare. This covers decisions such as what care and medical treatment you will receive in the future if you lose the mental capacity to make those decisions for yourself. It can also cover giving or refusing consent to life-sustaining medical treatment.
A lasting power of attorney is a very useful document and is something that everyone (not just older people) should seriously consider. You never know when you could lose capacity.
Why Do I Need It?
We all too often see families whose relative has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, but their loved one never entered into a lasting power of attorney. The family will then not be able to deal with their loved one’s bank account, and so they find that they cannot organise payment of their loved one’s bills nor sell their loved one’s property to pay for care home fees.
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The family finds themselves in a helpless and stressful situation that could have been avoided had their loved one entered into a lasting power of attorney.
Do you own and run your own business?
If so, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is essential. Have you thought about who will sort out the running of your business if you lose capacity? Who will that person be? How will they have the authority to act on your behalf?
Our specialist advisors can take you through all the options and guide you through the process of both creating and registering a lasting power of attorney.
What happens if I don’t have a lasting power of attorney and I lose capacity?
Then an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order, under which the court will appoint someone to act for you and deal with your finances. That could be someone who you would not have wanted to deal with your finances. Furthermore, this application is costly and time-consuming. We can offer specialist advice in this area and regularly deal with applications to courts of this nature. We can also assist in applications to the Court of Protection to prepare a will for someone who’s lost the capacity to make a will for themselves.
Is this just another name for a ‘living will’?
Not quite. A ‘living will’ – now called an advance medical decision (or directive) – is a different type of document which allows you to set out your preferences regarding what medical treatment you do or do not want to receive if you’re faced with a severe accident or illness (such as if you’re in a coma or had a stroke and can’t speak for yourself). This can help prevent confusion and disagreement. We can take you through your options in the preparation of a living will.
Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age, so all adults need to have both a living will and a lasting power of attorney in place.
Our specialist team can help you through the relevant procedures, contact Paul Rowley based at our Kidderminster office or Rebecca Randle at our Stourport-on-Severn office.