Monday, 22 June 2015

Plan ahead for your future with a Power of Attorney

It can often be heart-breaking to have to watch a family member or a close friend suffer and be let down, unable to do anything about it due to an illness or mental incapacity. However there is something that you can do to ensure that both your care and finances are looked after.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which enables you to choose someone to make decisions for you when you no longer can or are unable to. Your chosen attorney will usually be a loved one or someone you trust. Two people can jointly be appointed to act of your behalf.  You will be able to specify within the documents what actions the attorneys’ are allowed to take once you become ill.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is often seen as an under-used tool in ensuring that loved ones are treated fairly and with dignity. News stories from over the last few years have seen a surge in the number of families who are unhappy with the level of care family members are receiving whilst in hospital or in care homes. However the families concerned had failed to secure a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, which meant that their power over what happened was limited.

By creating a Health and Welfare LPA, you could ensure that someone has the authority to make decisions on your behalf once you become ill or are mentally incapable. This type of LPA will give your attorney the power to make decisions about things like medical care, care homes, daily routine and more.

By having a Health and Welfare LPA in place you can also ensure that solicitors will be able to challenge social services, care homes and hospitals should anything go wrong. Over the years many people have believed that by having an Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs will cover them for issues regarding health and welfare. This however is not the case and both types of Power of Attorney should be treated differently. A Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney with only give your attorney the power to deal with your finances and not your personal care. It requires a separate power to be set up, and just as with financial power, it has to be done before capacity is lost and the person is no longer able to declare that they give their consent for this to happen.

When it comes to your finances it is essential that you create a Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney. This type of LPA will give your attorney the power to make decisions about things like paying bills, collecting your pension, managing your bank account and more.  With a recent increase in pension freedoms and equity release plans, it is more vital than ever before to ensure that you have an attorney to manage your financial affairs when you no longer can.

At MTA Solicitors, we can assist you with drafting or creating your Lasting Power of Attorney ensuring that all restrictions and conditions are set out exactly how you want them. We also offer straightforward advice to ensure that your LPA is both accurate and legally binding. 

To make an enquiry or to create your LPA, simply call us on 0208 437 0731 to speak with one of our friendly legal advisors.

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