Lasting Powers of Attorney & Care for the Elderly
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
With advances in modern medicines and better treatments of illness, people are generally living longer. However, with an ageing population, legal problems can arise. For a person who is concerned about who will look after their affairs for them if they become incapable of doing so themselves, or indeed for family members who have a relative who is becoming infirm, there is a potential solution.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is used to give another person (“the attorney”) that you trust authority to make certain decisions on behalf of the one giving that power (“the donor”). A Lasting Power of Attorney can be used when the donor is no longer able to make decisions themselves, to enable the attorney to make decisions on the donor’s behalf about things such as their property and financial affairs, or their health and welfare. The process of setting up a valid Lasting Power of Attorney can be confusing to many people – our expert team can assist you with all aspects of Lasting Powers of Attorney.
An attorney must always act in the best interests of the donor. This requires consideration of the donor's past and present wishes and feelings, beliefs and values. An attorney is accountable to the Court and may be called upon to justify their decisions if there is evidence that an attorney is not acting accordingly. An attorney who finds themselves called upon to justify their actions to a Court should always seek expert legal advice.
What Lasting Powers of Attorney are available?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney, allows the attorney to deal with the donor's property and finances, which can include selling property, managing bank accounts and generally dealing with the donor's financial affairs.
- A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows the attorney to make welfare and health care decisions on the donor's behalf, which can include where the donor should live, decisions regarding medical treatment and the donor's day-to-day care.
Why should you not delay?
A Lasting Power of Attorney enables someone to plan in advance the decisions and actions they might want taken on their behalf at a time in the future when they cannot make those decisions themselves, for example due to the onset of dementia in later life. We can make the necessary arrangements for you to set up a valid Lasting Power of Attorney at your convenience.
If a person has not made A Lasting Power of Attorney and loses the capacity to make decisions, then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for an order appointing another person to make decisions on that person's behalf (“a Deputyship Order”). This can be both costly and time consuming.
However, in situations where a Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be drawn up, for example where the person has left it too late and no longer has the necessary mental capacity to sign such a document, we can assist you with the process of applying for a Deputyship Order to the Court of Protection.
Care for the Elderly
With an ageing population, there will be an ever greater burden on the care system in the United Kingdom. Complex rules and regulations govern the assessment and provision of care. Ensuring that these regulations are applied fairly and properly can prove difficult; obtaining expert legal advice can make the whole care process more straightforward and manageable for an individual. Part of the “Solicitors for the Elderly” network, our Team have vast experience in advising on issues surrounding care for the elderly.
For further information on Powers of Attorney and Care for the Elderly, please contact Digby Armstrong by emailing Digby or by calling him on 08450 990045, or speak to your usual contact in the Wills, Trust and Probate Team.