Only 3% of people in our region have signed a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, according to research published in July by Solicitors for the Elderly. This means that 97% could be leaving their end of life care decisions to strangers.
A Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is a document that you sign, nominating somebody to be authorised to speak on your behalf about medical treatment and other matters concerning your personal welfare, in case you become incapacitated.
You can also make a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney, which authorises your chosen people to manage your finances in the event of your incapacity.
At Gardner Leader we are frequently asked to help put powers of attorney in place for somebody’s relative, when it is too late because that person has already lost capacity. If that happens, the only option is to apply to the Court for authority -an expensive and time-consuming process. It is much better to plan ahead, and make powers of attorney whilst you are in good health.
Many people either choose not to think about it, or incorrectly assume that their partner or close relatives would have authority to make decisions.
Sometimes people are tempted to think that they will make a Lasting Power of Attorney when it’s needed. But an accident or illness could strike without warning, leaving you incapacitated, and then it is too late to make one.
Key questions to ask yourself (or your elderly relative) are:
Gardner Leader’s inheritance protection team can help with all these matters. Contact Penny Wright for further information.