Failing health – avoid problems for your family with a power of attorney
15 January 2014
John’s mother lost the use of her right side, making it very difficult for her to look after herself. She also had memory loss and confusion and it became clear that she would not be able to manage their financial affairs which were relatively complex, having a range of property and financial investments. To add to their worries, John’s 82-year-old father had only recently been diagnosed with early stage dementia.
While a will had been in place and was up to date, this did not provide John with any powers to help his parents to manage their finances. If they became unable to manage, then John would need to apply to the Court of Protection for permission to be appointed as a deputy – a costly and time consuming process.
Fortunately, John’s parents had sufficient mental capacity and with the help of their solicitor, they were able to make lasting power of attorneys, setting out their wishes regarding how they wanted their finances to be managed and by whom. They also made separate lasting power of attorney with provisions for their care and personal welfare. However this might not have been possible if the stroke had been more serious or the dementia had been more advanced.
Meanwhile John and Jenny who had already suffered anxiety were faced with a stream of very important decisions regarding the care of both parents. Anxious to avoid a similar problem for their children, they have since updated their will and created lasting powers of attorney for their own financial affairs and their personal welfare.
Two types of lasting power of attorney
Property and affairs – allows your chosen attorney to make decisions about your finances and is effective immediately.
Personal welfare – allows your chosen attorney to make decisions about your health and welfare. It only comes into force if you lose capacity to decide for yourself.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.