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Lasting Powers of Attorney

Even though 60% of adults don't yet have a will, at least 48% of adults recognise that they ought to have one; not great yet, but the momentum is at least shifting (albeit too slowly) in the right direction.

Of much greater concern though is the fact that too many people do not yet realise that a will only deals with the management of your finances after you die. Until you die both you (as a person) and your assets are not protected (and therefore vulnerable) should you at any time lose the ability to participate in decision making that affects either your finances or your health and welfare.

Even more worryingly, if you should lose the ability to participate in decision making that affects either your finances or your health and welfare then other agencies can apply to step in and take control instead under the provisions of a deputy order from the Court of Protection.

In matters of health and wellbeing, if you should lose the ability to participate in decision making (say because you are rendered too ill or unconscious) then, in the absence of a Lasting Power of Attorney the multi-disciplinary team that is assembled to determine your future cannot always be relied upon (whatever their best practice might otherwise suggest) to give effect to your preferences over their budgets and priorities.

It is worth noting at this point that an ordinary power of attorney (sometimes prepared by business personnel or to cover transactions during retirement periods abroad) is of little use as mental incapacity revokes the document, at the very time it is most needed.

The solution is to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney to better safeguard your position should you lose the ability to participate in decision making. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, covering:-

  • Financial decision making: such as investing your money, buying or selling property, dealing with your tax affairs or claiming benefit entitlements;
  • Health and welfare decision making: this permits your chosen attorneys to make decisions on your behalf relating to your living accommodation and care, consenting to or refusing medical treatment, and day to day matters such as diet and dress (which may be important if you have a particular faith or belief system such as Islam, Judaism, Sikhism or Hinduism to name but a few; there are of course other faiths too where rituals and day to day religious practices should be respected in the provision of your day to day care).

In the case of Lasting Powers of Attorney, one might well recall that most ancient of wisdoms: "a stitch in time saves nine" and it is certainly the case that if you don't have the right one at the right time, the remedial action needed on your behalf will be significantly more expensive.

it is also worth noting that although the Court of Protection will readily grant an order permitting a deputy to take control of your finances it will very rarely an order permitting your chosen deputy to intervene in any decision affecting your health and welfare (leaving your family standing helplessly by as the medical profession and/or social services decide your future and your best interests for you.

Call QualitySolicitors AcklamBond today on 01254 872272 for your appointment.

Team members

Frederick Parkinson
Senior Solicitor, Head of Private Client
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