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Advice Through The Care Maze

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Ian Francis, Specialist Adviser

What does an Attorney do?

An Attorney helps a "donor" (who might be a family member or friend) who has become physically or mentally incapacitated, to manage their affairs - handling financial and medical decisions.

Being someone known and trusted by the donor, is far more preferable than a court official.

Whilst dementia is a common cause of incapacity, there are many other ways capacity can be lost without warning, for example, a stroke, heart attack or traumatic injury.

So a Lasting Power of Attorney is not just for the elderly.

How can we help?

We have lots of experience in guiding attorneys, to make the right decisions over financial and medical decisions, that are in the donor's best interests.

For any clients who are Attorneys, or who want to be, we are able to provide a lot of support and guidance. We can advise making sure our clients feel in complete control of their role, acting in accordance with the legal requirements at all times, and supporting what can sometimes be complex decisions.

No matter how seemingly silly or difficult, our aim is to answer your questions and give you confidence about our professional work.

Our clients value the thoroughness of our service, including taking care of the administration, wherever possible.

Dementia and NHS Healthcare
What is mental capacity?

Having mental capacity means being able to make informed decisions – for example, about our care, welfare and finances.

The law says that while you have mental capacity, you will be able to understand the information relevant to each decision, retain that information, use or weigh the information as part of the decision-making process, and communicate your decision (by whatever means).

so, losing mental capacity can often cause undue financial hardship and distress at a time when they’re trying to cope with a life-changing event.

What happens if you lose mental capacity?

It is often - wrongly - assumed that family members will be entitled to make medical decisions for their incapacitated loved ones and to deal with their assets.

Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, family members may not be able to:

  • Sell any assets which the incapacitated person holds in their name, including joint assets.
  • Pay bills, manage bank accounts (including accessing the money or stopping payments), and deal with property, savings or pensions.
  • Be fully involved in decisions regarding their loved one's care and medical treatment.
What does a Lasting Power of Attorney do?

A Lasting Power of Attorney enables an individual with mental capacity (the donor) to appoint an attorney (or attorneys) to make decisions for them, in the event that they later become incapacitated.

It allows you to plan in advance and gives reassurance, not just to you but to your family, in the event that you are no longer able to make your own decisions.

  • Loss of mobility or illness can make it difficult to manage your affairs.

Having someone you know and trust and more importantly understands you, to manage your affairs, is far preferable to a court official.

By creating a Lasting Power of Attorney in advance, you ensure that if the worst were to happen, you can be assured that both your financial affairs and personal welfare are in safe hands.

We have a joint bank account – we're OK, aren't we?

Couples often assume that if they have a joint bank account and one of them loses mental capacity, the other will be able to access the funds in the account.

Unfortunately, that isn't the case.

Banks often freeze joint accounts, so it isn't possible to access any of your money – even if it is needed for care fees or medical expenses.

Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, you will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.

Deputy Application Photo of Court of Protection
What does a Deputy Order do?

Those seeking to act on behalf of loved ones who have lost mental capacity, but not got a Power of Attorney in place, will need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.

An elderly relative losing capacity is difficult enough for loved ones to deal with, without the added worry that finances are becoming muddled.

This can often cause undue financial hardship and distress at a time when trying to cope with a life-changing event.

We are very experienced in drafting deputy applications and doing all the administration.

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What's on your mind? Let's talk...

We offer a free, no-obligation, initial telephone consultation for new clients to answer some initial questions and help you with some first steps.

After that, we will then ask if you would like to set aside more time at a good time of day for you, when we can meet in person, on video, or by phone, whichever is most convenient for you.

If you would like to use our services after our initial telephone call then we charge an hourly fee of £150, including travel time. We can also agree on a fixed fee depending on what you need.

What it means to be SOLLA accredited

As a financial planner accredited by SOLLA (the Society of Later Life Advisers), I know that the transition to elder care happens more smoothly and is often more aligned to the expectations of the individual and their family when plans are made in advance. This includes advanced planning around finances.

It’s often a surprise to people that later-life financial planning is a specialist area within the wider field of financial advice, but it is!

Clients requiring financial planning in their later life benefit from advice that is clear and concise. Such advice comes from an adviser that is suitably qualified and experienced to advise them and manage their financial planning.

This means you can work with an expert in funding care (whether for a care home or in-home care) and other later life financial matters – ensuring that money is one less thing to worry about when arranging for your own short or long-term care, or that of a parent.

We have been advising clients on long-term care, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Will writing and retirement solutions for several years now, backed up not just by professional qualifications but also by the membership of various professional bodies, most notably the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) and the Personal Finance Society.

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