A lasting power of attorney is an essential tool which everyone should consider having. They are very 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 cannot manage your affairs.
Usually, if you lose capacity there is a lengthy and expensive process before someone can make decisions on your behalf.
Having a power of attorney certainly makes life easier. 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 to simply doing your banking.
The second is a health & welfare power of attorney which allows someone to make decisions regarding your medical treatment or your daily welfare. You can, for example, specify that you would rather not go into a care home unless your relatives consult a doctor to confirm you can’t live independently.
I feel really passionate about these and charge as little as possible to ensure they are accessible. Many clients have strong feelings about how they wish to be treated particularly if they need life prolonging procedures.
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.