Powers to help
Many of us will face difficult issues later in life, for ourselves or for loved ones. LAURA RUMSEY explains how the law can assist
IT CAN be a very daunting time if you or a loved one is diagnosed with a degenerative or life-limiting illness. There are however, a number of ways that you can plan for the future. It is important to remember that if you consider all your options you can live well with the condition and receive the support you and your family require.
Do you already have any type of Powers of Attorney already in place?
These documents can be extremely important, allowing those that you trust to be appointed as your attorneys so that they can then assist you with your finances and your health. It is worth noting that a Lasting Power of Attorney for your property and financial affairs can be used at any point (if registered) and therefore means that if you become unable to look after your affairs, either temporarily or permanently, you will have someone there to help you.
It is also worth considering putting a Lasting Power of Attorney for your health and welfare in place. This will mean that your attorneys can speak on your behalf, if you are not able to, and help make decisions relating to any health, care or welfare needs you may have in the future. This will ensure that you have to have your wishes followed, even if you are unable to communicate them for yourself.
Finally, it is a good time to review whether you have a will in place. If you do not have a will you should consider taking legal advice on how you would like your estate to be distributed and who you would like to appoint to be the executors to administer the estate. If you already have a Will in place it is worth reviewing it in light of your future potential care needs, as your financial position may start to change.
It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, as talking to a legal advisor will enable the family of those diagnosed to assist and guide them through stressful and anxious times they are experiencing, even if it appears that they have begun to lose mental capacity. Other important issues to discuss with an advisor may be:
The planning of any future care needs – there are many different options to be considered from supported living, care in your own home, through to care or nursing homes depending on needs
The funding of your care in the future – this ranges from self-funding to fully funded care depending on your condition and resources
It is important to get assistance as soon as practicably possible; the diagnosis of a life changing illness is always a difficult period to navigate for everyone. Professional support and guidance can significantly dilute some of the obstacles that need to be overcome.
“If you consider all your options you can live well with the condition and receive the support you and your family require”