According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are currently 800,000 people in the UK with dementia, including over 17,000 younger people. It is predicted that the number will exceed one million people by 2021.

Headway tell us that there are over one million people in the UK living with the long-term effects of a brain injury, and that every 90 seconds someone is admitted to hospital in the UK with acquired brain injury.

For all of these people and their families there will no doubt have been many difficult moments as all sorts of challenges were encountered and dealt with. One common issue though is how financial matters will be dealt with for the person concerned, whether that is to pay for care, to receive pension or benefit payments or simply to carry on with normal day to day financial arrangements on their behalf.

Imagine the awful circumstances if your husband or wife was suddenly seriously injured –putting aside the traumatic experience for you and your children, would you be able to continue paying the monthly bills and the mortgage? Are their wages paid into a joint account or into their own account? Are the household bills in their name or yours? Will the person on the other end of the telephone speak to you – or not because the account, policy and so on is not in your name?

In circumstances like this the Court of Protection can appoint a Deputy, often a family member, to look after the affairs of a person who cannot make decisions themselves. However, this process can be expensive, difficult and slow and it can be avoided altogether if you plan ahead and made a Lasting Power of Attorney.

A Lasting Power of Attorney allows one person, the Donor, to give another, called the Attorney, the authority to make decisions on their behalf.

At present, there are two forms of Lasting Power of Attorney which you can make namely: –

  1. A Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Affairs. As the name suggests this allows someone to manage your financial affairs on your behalf. You can restrict or guide the decisions they can make, and you can state whether the Power is effective immediately or only if you are no longer capable of managing your own affairs.
  1. A Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare. This generally allows another person to make decisions on your behalf, relating for example to        medical treatment or care decisions. Again, you can place restrictions on the nature of decisions, if you wish and this Power can only be used if you    get to the stage when you cannot make decisions for yourself.

The advantage of making a Lasting Power of Attorney is that once the Power of Attorney has been made it remains valid even in the event that you subsequently lose the ability to manage your own affairs.

If you are worried how others will manage in the event that you become seriously ill then you should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney.

The team at Beecham Peacock Solicitors in Newcastle can offer expert advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney and other aspects of lifetime planning. For more information or to discuss your requirements contact us on 0191 2323048.

Rod Etherington

Solicitor, Trust and Estate Practitioner

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