Powers of Attorney
When someone loses the capacity to deal with their own affairs, it can be very distressing for them and those closest to them. If those closest are unable to assist because they have no legal authority to act, it can only add to the strain. In such a case, an application will need to be filed with the Court of Protection so that an appropriate order is obtained, such as the appointment of a Deputy to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. This process involved is lengthy and will come at a considerable expense.
With some careful advance planning, an ideal solution can be found in a Lasting Power of Attorney if your loved one has started to show signs that he or she is struggling to manage their financial affairs. Your loved one may require your assistance in settling their bills, managing their mortgage payments and handling the sale of their property.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorneys:-
Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney. Power is given to the attorney(s) so that decisions can be made about one’s property and financial affairs.
Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. Power is given to the attorney(s) so that decisions can be made about one’s healthcare and personal welfare. These decisions can only be taken if he or she lacks mental capacity, and may include decisions on whether to accept or refuse ‘life sustaining treatment’.
To make a Lasting Power of Attorney is a complicated and lengthy process and it must adopt a strict legal format. Once this document has been signed by everyone concerned, it must be sent off to the Office of Public Guardian for registration, otherwise, the attorney has no authority to act
Enduring Powers of Attorneys were available up to the 1st October 2007, when they were replaced by Lasting Power of Attorneys. Enduring Powers of Attorneys made before this date remain valid but if your loved one has lost mental capacity, then the appointed attorney(s) will need to apply to the Office of the Public Guardian and register the Enduring Power of Attorney.
A Living Will is a legal document which sets out in clear terms what medical treatment you would or would not wish to receive if you ever became incapacitated. This document does not allow you to appoint others to make such decisions on your behalf. It is strongly recommended that you provide your GP with a copy of your Living Will so that it is placed alongside your medical records.
How we can assist you
Planning for the future is very important, although we often all leave things too late. It is difficult to place a value on peace of mind.
We have specialist knowledge and expertise in all of the above fields. We are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Private Client Section of the Law Society.
There is no fee to discuss your legal issue with one of our firm’s experienced solicitors. For an initial and no obligation discussion as to how we can assist you please contact Tony Wilson or Margot Fisher.