If you have an illness or disability that could result in your mental capacities being diminished, you need to know who will have control over the important elements of your life.
If you don’t, the courts could make the decision. And there is no guarantee that the decision of the court would be the same as the one you would make.
Two of the main decisions you need to make is whether to use the services of a solicitor and who to ask to be your attorneys. These are the people that will make the decisions on your behalf once you no longer have the mental capacity to do so. You can choose up to four people to fulfil these roles.
Before you ask someone to take on such an important role you need to ask yourself some very important questions.
Who do you trust to be your attorneys?
Firstly, do you trust the person to put your best interests first, regardless of the consequences for others?
Your attorneys will have control over elements such as deciding whether you should be in a nursing or care home and whether your home should be sold to pay for the care. So, trust is very important.
This is even more so important if you have a business and you’re organizing this as part of your succession planning.
Can your attorneys perform their duties?
Next, will the person have the time to carry out the duties effectively?
While some decisions are one-off decisions, others are ongoing, such as paying bills, collecting pensions and arranging day-to-day care.
Can your attorneys fulfil their role until you pass away?
Also, consider whether they will have the necessary mental capacity for the role over the long-term. While you may want your partner to have the last say if they are unlikely to have their own faculties for many years, then having another trustworthy individual to work with them is vital.
Do you need to employ a Solicitor?
Given the number of questions that you need to take into consideration, it is no wonder that many people turn to a solicitor for assistance.
As well as providing guidance on completing and filing out the lasting power of attorney (LPA), a solicitor can provide guidance on who best to take on the roles.
They will go through your needs, both now and in the long-term, and discuss with you whether you should consider a health and wellbeing LPA or a financial LPA.
A wellbeing LPA may be a consideration, particularly if you are already aware of the early stages of illness likely to cause your mental capacities to be diminished, that you will be advised to do both now. This potentially saves you and your family from legal problems later.
Your solicitor can also talk you through situations where you might want to change or revoke the lasting power of attorney. Situations, where you might be advised to do this, may include where you have recovered fully from the illness or injury that left you unable to make decisions.
Other reasons why the LPA may be adapted include the death of one or more of your attorneys, or the inability of one or more of them to continue in the role.
Are you considering registering a lasting power of attorney?
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