Carers Week 2020: The importance of time, patience and asking for help
Carers are often unpaid relatives and/or close family friends; they can face practical problems such as not being able to speak to third parties on behalf of the person for whom they are caring and it can be difficult to access that person’s funds without legal authority. These practical issues can unnecessarily add more stress and challenges to the carer’s role, which should otherwise be focused on caring. To help alleviate this pressure, it’s important for anyone to look at ways they may be able to plan for and organise their financial affairs to help make these situations better for those who may need to care for them. Lasting Powers of Attorney are one of the tools you can put in place to plan ahead.
You can give someone authority to act on your behalf via a general power of attorney. However, this ceases to have effect if you lose capacity.
An LPA is more effective as this will continue even if you lose capacity. There are two types of LPAs:
The health and care LPA is important as you can specify any health wishes you may have and also give your attorney the authority to agree or disagree to life sustaining treatment on your behalf. It also gives the attorney the power to decide on residential and care issues, but this only takes effect once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) and only if you have lost capacity to make such decisions yourself.
A property and affairs LPA gives your attorney the power to use your funds in your best interests, e.g. buying equipment and paying bills, and third parties will be able to speak to your attorney on your behalf. Once registered with the OPG, this LPA can be used with your consent even if you still have capacity, which can be useful if you cannot physically move as your attorney will be able to conduct your financial affairs on your behalf. There is a registration fee and those on low incomes can apply for an exemption or a reduction of the entire fee.
LPAs can be a critical tool, which can help reduce the stress carers feel and the practical challenges they face on a daily basis when looking after a loved one.
To find out more about Carers Week 2020 and how you can take part and help make caring visible, please see here.
See also our previous Carers Week blogs:
Sameena Munir an Associate in the Private Client team. She has a Court of Protection focus, supporting property and financial affairs deputies. She works closely with clients who lack capacity, with a particular specialism of cerebral palsy and severe brain injury cases. She prepares statutory will and gift applications to the Court, and creates personal injury trusts. She also advises on lasting powers of attorney and probate matters.
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