Wills and Probate

Families and autism: How we can help

Families and autism: How we can help

This week we saw Paddy and Christine McGuiness talking about their struggles regarding their three autistic children.

On the Our Family and Autism show on BBC 1, they chatted openly about their concerns. They worry how their children will live in an adult world and what support will be available.

Autism is different for everyone. In some cases, it may affect one’s capabilities of making important decisions.

Here at Marsden Rawsthorn, our Wills, Probate and Trusts team does a lot of work with families in a similar position.

One of the main concerns for the McGuinness family was that they wanted the children’s transitions into adulthood to go as smoothly as possible. They want to ensure that they look into adaptations they will need to make.

Necessary steps

During the show, they visited children and young adults to see what the future may hold for their children. They also investigated necessary steps, such as attending schools who highlighted the importance of autism awareness.

They also visited supported living accommodation which allowed autistic children to live practically and independently with assistance available.

Here at Marsden Rawsthorn, we advise families to consider Power of Attorneys.

There may be concerns of a parent as to if upon reaching adulthood, if their child will have the capacity to make important decisions relating to their health and finances.


A Power of Attorney ( often called a LPA) can be put in place once a child reaches 18.

Whilst most people with autism may still have capacity, they may need help when considering more difficult decisions.

An LPA allows another appointed person or persons to make decisions on behalf of a person if they ever lack mental capacity to do so.

There are two types of Power of Attorney; health and welfare and financial.

These documents will allow appointed individuals to make important decisions. They also help the individual have an input in any decision about their health, welfare and living arrangements or finances.

This way the person can be as independent as possible in a safe and controlled way.

Who can put an LPA in place?

By law, you must have mental capacity in order to put in place a Power of Attorney.

People may see this as an obstacle to creating an LPA however for many with autism or learning difficulties, it is still possible to make a Power of Attorney with the right support.

Here to help

To discuss drawing up an LPA or a Trust , contact Zoe Fleming, Head of Wills, Probate and Trusts, on 01257 237507 or email zfleming@marsdenrawsthorn.com

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