As we may live until a ripe old age, which might involve coping with disability of one form or another, we need to think about the support we could need.
Many have heard the term “power of attorney”, but not many, we suspect, will have made the investment and appointed someone trusted to act as their representative if they become physically or mentally unable to look after themselves in old age.
If you become infirm and unable to make sensible decisions about your health care or finances, and have not appointed a lasting power of attorney (LPA), then management of health care and finances will pass to your doctors and the Court of Protection. Whilst these two outside-the-family institutions will no doubt try their best on your behalf, they may not do so in accordance with your wishes, or the wishes of your close family.
There are two types of LPA that will deal with:
- Health and welfare, and
- Property and financial affairs.
You can complete the forms to apply for the two types of LPA with the Public Guardian’s office without professional assistance, but we recommend that you invest in proper legal advice as part of a wider consideration of other issues related to tax and inheritance.
LPAs, if properly considered, will give both you and your family a clearly defined structure to work within should you become incapacitated in old age. As you would expect, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have the mental capacity to make you own decisions when you make an LPA.
We can introduce you to solicitors to help you with this, or many other legal matters.