A lasting power of attorney is an essential tool which everyone should give thought to. Particularly helpful in looking after elderly relatives but they have much wider uses too. Car accidents, Alzheimer’s, strokes or perhaps just prolonged travel where you won’t be able to manage your affairs.
If you lose capacity and don’t have a power of attorney in place, there is a lengthy and expensive process in place for someone to be able to make decisions on your behalf.
Many people see the benefit of powers of attorney but are worried about the cost. I keep my rates as low as possible and allow payments by instalment. There are charges to register the power of attorney but not everyone has to pay.
There are two types of powers of attorney and you can have one or both. The first allows someone to deal with property and financial affairs on your behalf, from major decisions down to simply doing your banking for you.
The second is a health & welfare power of attorney which allows someone to make decisions regarding your medical treatment or decisions around your daily welfare. You can, for example, specify that you would rather not go into a care home unless your relatives consult a doctor who is sure you can’t live independently.
I feel really passionate about these and charge as little as possible to ensure they are accessible. If you have watched a loved one suffer during a terminal illness, you may have strong feelings about how you would wish to be treated if ever in a similar situation.
You can make decisions now in a binding document declaring the treatments you would refuse. If you lose capacity your doctors will then act on your previous decisions. For example, you may not wish to have your life prolonged by force feeding or may not wish to be resuscitated.