Protecting your interests: Lasting power of attorney
Let’s be honest; none of us want to think about a time when we can’t make informed decisions ourselves. This change may happen suddenly – maybe as a result of an accident. Or more slowly, due to the onset of a condition such as Alzheimer’s or the progression of a mental illness.
But if you want to prepare for the future, there are steps you can take to protect your interests – and those of your families – should the worst happen.
What is the Court of Protection?
The Court of Protection exists to protect the interests of all those who are unable to make informed decisions for themselves. If necessary the court will step in to make those decisions on their behalf.
The first thing you could consider is making a Lasting Power of Attorney. This allows you to appoint someone, usually a family member or close friend, to make decisions for you should you become unable to do so yourself. This person (called a Deputy) will be authorised to manage your finances and make decisions about things such as your medical care if you’re unable to do so.
Some people choose to put this provision in place when they make their Will, whilst others wait until it becomes clear that they need help. Whatever your situation your solicitor can help guide you through the process and explain exactly what’s involved.
If you find yourself in a situation where your loved one has lost mental capacity but hasn’t made a Lasting Power of Attorney you can apply to the Court to appoint a deputy on their behalf.
Becoming a Deputy
Taking on the role of a Deputy can be stressful and time-consuming. You may find yourself faced with a whole host of issues of which you have no experience – from managing property and investments to making difficult decisions about care packages and medical support. Again, your solicitor will be able to provide all the support and guidance you need.
We’re also able to take on the role of Professional Deputy for our clients. Often this is if the family can’t manage themselves, if there or nobody willing to take on the responsibility or because the financial or care needs of our client is particularly complicated.
If you’d like to speak to a specialist Court of Protection solicitor or need information about appointing a Deputy or acting as a Deputy, contact Tom Sharkey or call 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.