As members of Solicitors for the Elderly, AST Hampsons Private Client team are keen to promote awareness to ensure that people get the care, consideration and advice they need when it comes to issues such as Dementia, and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Head of Private Client department Louise Salisbury says when considering Lasting Powers is;
While you have capacity, it’s vital that you get your affairs in order and choose the best people to manage your affairs, in case of an accident or illness. You can’t appoint an attorney once you lose capacity.
Think carefully who you want to appoint as your attorney and have an open conversation with them so 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. Bear in mind this usually involves a cost.
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 to pay for your care costs?
Address the 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 choices clear in your document.
Seek professional advice
Shop-bought and online LPA kits may be suitable for those with very straightforward financial situations or with considerable legal experience, but 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. Your choices around the people you want responsible for your finances and wellbeing may change, such as following a marriage or divorce, when children reach adulthood, or if parents
There are/have been two programs on TV relating to these issues this week
Channel 4’s Dispatches, Monday 8pm,
Tish Hanifan, Head of Business Development at SFE and Joint Chair of The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), will be appearing on a feature titled: ‘How to Avoid the Dementia Tax’. Tish will be discussing the risks involved with using unregulated ‘estate planning practitioners’ and the importance of speaking to a qualified specialist around such matters.
ITV Tonight, Thursday 7:30pm
Caroline Bielanska, former SFE CEO, and author and trainer for STEP, will be discussing the potential abuse of powers of attorney, following Denzil Lush’s comments earlier this year. Caroline’s interview focuses on the safeguards people can put in place to ensure their LPA is robust and the importance of using a specialist lawyer.