Page 54 - West Dorset Living Dec:Jan 2019
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   LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
It’s not easy to think about what would happen if you couldn’t make decisions for yourself.
Here Tish Hanifan from the Society of Later Life Advisors offers some useful advice...
Having control of your financial affairs and making choices around your own welfare, such as where you live, is understandably very important.
However, remember that planning ahead to decide who will make decisions about your finances and your welfare if you can’t, is
a way of retaining control over your future needs.
It means that should you lack capacity to make decisions and they have to be made by someone else these decisions will be made by the person you have chosen to take care of your affairs.
They must be an adult and be someone you trust to act in your best interests. You can appoint a professional such as a solicitor but they will charge for this service.
Every year almost 750.000 people do plan ahead and register the legal document that allows this procedure to happen - known as ‘A Lasting Power of Attorney’ (LPA).
The LPA is very flexible so you have the opportunity to really make it work for you and your situation.
It may be that you want to continue to make decisions for yourself but also want to allow others to sometimes act on your behalf for example, if you are physically unable to get to the bank.
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing decision to give up all your decision
making. You can specify in the LPA that the appointed person (attorney) can only make decisions when you no longer have capacity to do so.
Here are some of the things an Attorney can do on your behalf once the LPA is registered :
• Buy or sell property
• Access your financial information
• Claim benefits on your behalf
• Invest your savings
• Make gifts to your family and friends on special occasions such as birthdays. (This power is limited by law)
You can also put restrictions on to what extent and in what circumstances your attorney can act.
Below are some of the ways you can ‘Tailor Make the Power of Attorney’:
• Appoint more than one attorney and decide whether they can each act individually or whether you want them to have to agree to a decision. If you do this then consider how they will get along with each other when reaching decisions.
• State that the Attorney can on only act if you have lost the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
• Set restrictions around the kind of investments they can make on your behalf. You can also make an LPA to appoint an
attorney to
make welfare decisions
about you e.g. medical care or decisions about where you should live.
A Health and Welfare LPA has to be registered, but only takes effect when you lack the mental capacity to make the decision for yourself.
An LPA can only be used once it is registered so it’s important not to delay in doing this. The current cost is £82.
All the information you need in order to go ahead with this is available at : www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney
You should also give serious thought
to taking advice from a solicitor who specialises in this area of law, as this is a very important document you can find out more with Solicitors for the Elderly (www. sfelega). They are a specialist group of solicitors and lawyers that support and make a difference to older and vulnerable people’s lives.
SOLLA is a not for profit organisation and their members are all regulated financial advisers who specialise in the financial issues of later life and have achieved the Later Life Adviser Accreditation.
To find out more information about SOLLA or to find a local SOLLA accredited adviser please visit www.societyoflaterlifeadvisers. co.uk
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