Don’t leave it too late
BARBARA POND, of Rogers and Norton Solicitors, explains why we should consider putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney
WE WILL all have read in our newspapers and seen reported in the media or on television the focus on dementia as an issue facing our society. There is a growing awareness and change in public attitude, as we recognise the need to act and put in place the necessary support within the community.
We may all reach a point in our lives, be it through old age, illness or an accident, when we become incapable of making decisions for ourselves. It is important to recognise the need to make arrangements to manage our finances and personal welfare before we have lost capacity, or no longer feel capable. It is, however, something that people tend to ignore, put off, or in some cases avoid, until it is too late.
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to plan in advance and choose who you would like and trust to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity and become unable to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of LPA: Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers decisions which can include selling or changing your house according to your needs, paying your bills, running your bank/building society accounts, and investing your money. This type of LPA can be used while you still have mental capacity.
Health and Welfare LPA covers decisions about your health, welfare and future care if there comes a time when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. These can include giving or refusing consent to medical treatment, staying in
“Deciding to put LPAs in place now will make it easier for your family and friends to look after your affairs and care in the future”
your own home, perhaps with help, or selecting the right care home for you, and personal day to day issues such as diet, dress and daily routine. This type of LPA can only be used when you have lost mental capacity.
Both types of LPAs can also be used for temporary situations such as during an illness, a lengthy stay in hospital or rehabilitation, when you may need help with managing aspects of your everyday life.
Deciding to put LPAs in place now will make it easier for your family and friends to look after your affairs and care in the future. If you do lose capacity and have left making arrangements for your future too late and have nothing in place, it will be more expensive, time-consuming and difficult to apply through the Court of Protection to have a Deputy appointed, who could be a stranger, or indeed someone you might not have chosen.
It is always reassuring and gives peace of mind to your family and those who care about you to know that you have LPAs in place and have made your wishes clear to the people you would most like, and trust, to make decisions on your behalf in the future.
During September, October and November we are demonstrating our belief in the importance of having an LPA by offering a 20% reduction in our charges and are also holding a series of free surgeries in October, should you wish to discuss this further.