LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY
Most people acknowledge that it is important to organise their affairs in the event of their death which is the purpose of a Will. However, many fail to make similar provisions to deal with their affairs, should they become unable to look after themselves during their lifetime, through physical and/or mental incapacity, an increasing possibility given the continuing advances in medical care.
It is a mistake to think that next of kin is able to assume immediate responsibility for one’s affairs. The Data Protection Act forbids, for example, a utility provider speaking with any person other than the account holder. In fact an application through the Office of the Public Guardian to the Court of Protection has to be made; this typically takes several months to be approved and costs well in excess of the fee for an LPA.
This lengthy procedure can be readily avoided by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This is a legally binding document that enables you to appoint a trusted person or persons to look after your affairs should incapacity occur perhaps due to illness, accident or infirmity in old age.
It is vital that you do this before mental or physical incapacity strikes.
There are two forms of a LPA. One covers the management of financial affairs, the other deals with personal welfare such as medical care.
Whilst the LPA is a powerful document, there are numerous safeguards to prevent its abuse. For example, you can include restrictions on what the attorneys you appoint can and cannot do under the authority of the documents. You can also include advice or guidance on how you would like them to act.
An LPA can be updated or cancelled at any time, whilst you have mental capacity, should your circumstances change.
It is essential that LPA arrangements are made whilst you are fit and healthy. Otherwise you could leave your family with a multitude of practical problems.
ADVANCE DIRECTIVES (LIVING WILLS)
Today there are many treatments given to patients who are terminally ill. Treatments may include being kept alive on a life support machine. Whilst such actions may prolong life, they may also offer little or no chance of recovery.
Would you want your life support machine switched off in such circumstances?
Would you want your grieving relatives to have to make that decision?
An Advance Directive enables you to state which treatments you would or would not want if you became seriously ill and were unable to participate in decisions about your medical care. An Advance Directive is recognised by the British Medical Association and is legally enforceable provided that two doctors have certified that they are of the opinion that you are unlikely to recover from your condition.
An Advance Directive enables you to:
make choices about the level of medical treatment that you would want should you be suffering from a life threatening illness
make statements to be considered by those dispensing treatment about the treatment you want, or do not want, to be given
gives peace of mind. Your family is not left to make difficult and emotional decisions.
Be aware. Know the facts.
Advance Directives or Living Wills are not the same as assisted suicide. That remains unlawful. Nor can an Advance Directive be used to refuse basic nursing care or ask that staff do not offer you food and drink by mouth.
INHERITANCE MATTERS CAN SHOW YOU ILLUSTRATED EXAMPLES OF HOW THESE DOCUMENTS CAN WORK TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
CALL US TODAY ON 01384 878950 AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP YOU.
ALTERNATIVELY, CLICK HERE AND COMPLETE THE FORM TO GET IN TOUCH.