As we become increasingly accustomed to our restricted lifestyles, an increasing number of clients are asking us how we can help to ensure that their wishes are met if there comes a time when they are unable to make important decisions for themselves. This includes decisions about both financial matters (including property) and decisions relating to health issues and general welfare.
This is a brief summary of some of the steps that will be considered whilst you still have capacity to make decisions for yourself:
1. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
This is an official document which allows you to nominate one or more people who will be able to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself because you lack mental capacity. there are two types of LPA – one for decisions about your property and finances and the other for decisions about your health and welfare. Each document must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. This registration process can take between 8 and 12 weeks.
2. Letter of Wishes/Advance Statement
In this letter we set out how you would like decisions about you to be made. The letter acts as guidance to anyone making a decision on your behalf when you are unable to make the decision yourself. Unlike an LPA, it is not legally binding but as there is no need to register it with the OPG, you may prefer this where decisions may need to be made urgently.
3. Third Party Mandate
Your bank or building society may allow you to nominate a specific person to manage your accounts.
4. General Power of Attorney
Like an LPA this allows you to nominate someone else to make decisions on your behalf. However, unlike an LPA, the power comes to an end automatically if you lose mental capacity.
5. Advance Decision
Sometimes referred to as a “Living Will”, an advance decision enables you to indicate now that you would want to refuse treatment if you were to develop specified conditions in the future.