It is a common misconception that your next of kin will be able to make decisions and deal with important matters on your behalf, if you are unable to do it yourself. Sadly, it’s often not possible, particularly when dealing with finance and property matters or health and welfare decisions. The reality is that mental capacity can be lost at any time due to a serious accident, stroke or even a degenerative condition such as Alzheimer’s. In that case, only a legal Attorney who is named in your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) document will be able to deal with matters and make decisions on your behalf.

Who do you trust?

Who do you trust most? Your spouse/partner? Your adult children? A friend? Appointing your own choice of legal attorney(s) in a LPA allows those people you know and trust to make financial, medical or welfare decisions for you including the ability to make complaints on your behalf, have access to medical records and information and be part of the decision making process.

You need to make Lasting Powers of Attorney before they are needed and whilst you still have the mental capacity to understand it. It’s never too early to make a Power of Attorney, but it can be too late!

What is capacity?

Capacity means the ability to use and understand information to make a decision and communicate any decision made. A person lacks capacity if their mind is impaired or disturbed in some way, which means they’re unable to make a decision at that time – eg., someone with dementia or perhaps a stroke

How is capacity assessed?

This will usually be carried out by an appropriately trained and experienced healthcare professional.

Be nice to your children – they will be choosing your care home!

Worse still….your children (or you) may NOT get to decide! It can be the Local Authority Social Services who decide on a choice of care home for you. If you trust your children and DO want them to decide on your behalf, you need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare.

Lasting Powers of Attorney can be an essential legal document. It takes time to prepare and register before the document can be used by the Attorneys, anywhere between 3-5 months. Don’t leave making your LPAs until you desperately need them. Planning ahead will reduce stress in difficult times. I can guide you through the process and give advice about all the options.

Contact Jenny Fothergill for further information & costs.