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Moving into residential care, are your affairs in place?

25-10-2012

Gardner Leader discusses the issues that regularly occur when moving a loved one into a care home.

Moving someone you care about into a residential care home can be a very stressful and emotional time. I am seeing more and more clients moving a loved one into care wanting to ensure that their affairs are in place to reduce the stress and worry of loved ones.

I have detailed below a snapshot of the issues which I regularly discuss with clients in this exact situation.

I strongly advise my clients to ensure that they have either a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in place.  A power of attorney enables the client to appoint one or up to four people to act as their attorney to help manage their affairs should they ever require them too.

In October 2007 the EPA was replaced by the LPA. Therefore if an EPA is already in place and the donor is happy with their choice of attorneys there is no need to prepare a new LPA.

A common requirement of an EPA which is regularly missed by attorneys is the obligation to register the EPA with the Court of Protection the moment you reasonably believe the donor is losing mental capacity.

If an EPA has not been prepared I would urge clients to prepare a LPA.  There are two types of LPA’s – one dealing with Property and Affairs enabling the attorney to pay their bills, sell any property and make decisions on their behalf with regard to finances i.e. payment of care fees.
The other dealing with Health and Welfare – It will enable the attorney to make health and welfare decisions.

The attorney will be able to continue to use the LPA even if the donor should lose mental capacity.  I have commonly witnessed the scenario where a child is able to access their parent’s bank accounts to pay for their bills using a third party mandate or a general power of attorney. Many do not realise that the moment the parent starts to lose mental capacity these are no longer valid methods and the third party will be acting illegally if they continue to use them, unlike the LPA.

I would advise my clients to ensure that a Will is in place and check that it is up to date. By preparing a Will you can select your executors and determine who will inherit your estate and in what proportions. The Will can also provide for gifts of any specific legacies i.e. a specific item or some of money. Other advantages include inheritance tax planning and Care Fee planning to ensure that your estates are protected for those you leave behind.

For more information, and to find out how Gardner Leader can help you and your loved ones, please contact the Inheritance Protection team.


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