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Why you should consider a Lasting Power of Attorney

Lasting power of attorney

Marsden Rawsthorn is calling on families to create a Lasting Power of Attorney this Dementia Action Week.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s awareness event, which runs until May 23, aims to get support to nearly one million people in the UK with dementia and their families.

Years of underfunding and neglect have led to a care system that’s difficult to access, costly and inadequate – and this has been exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Our Associate Director Zoe Fleming is a member of the independent national organisation Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) which provides specialist legal advice for older people and their families.

This week she advises families to consider a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a powerful legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about care and finances on their behalf in the event of a loss of mental capacity through an accident or illness, such as dementia.

What to consider regarding a Lasting Power of Attorney

* Plan early – While you have the capacity, it is vital that you choose the best people to manage your affairs in case of an accident or illness.  You cannot appoint an attorney once you lose capacity.

* Choose carefully – Think carefully about who you want to appoint as your Attorney and ensure they understand your wishes and what their responsibilities will include.  Consider appointing more than one person as your attorney so they can share the responsibility.

* Consider appointing a professional – A family member might not always be the best person to act as your Attorney.  Instead, you can appoint a professional, such as a Solicitor.  They can act as a neutral third party and make unbiased decisions that are in your best interests.

* Think about different circumstances – Consider how you would like your Attorney to manage your property and financial affairs in different situations, for example, are you happy for your property to be sold?

* Address difficult questions – Your Attorney might have to make difficult decisions about your health and welfare.  If you have specific wishes around your care plans, medical treatment or end of life wishes, make sure you discuss this with them and make your choice clear in a document.

* Seek professional advice – For most people, seeking professional legal advice is the best way of ensuring that an LPA is effective, legally robust, and safe.

* Keep your plans current – Make sure you keep your LPA updated if your circumstances change.  You may change your mind following a marriage or divorce or when children become adults.

If you’d like help to arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney, Zoe Fleming can help. Contact her today on 01772 799600.

Article by Director, Zoe Fleming.

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