Getting your affairs in order

The Alzheimer’s Show played host to a range of legal experts who were there to help and advise members of the public

Legal experts including solicitors supplied by the Law Society were on hand at the show to answer your questions about getting affairs in order and legal firms Bolt Burdon, WSL and WW&J McClure were there to provide advice. We asked Sarah Clacker from Bolt Burdon in London (http://www.boltburdon.co.uk) to tell us what questions people asked and what those living with dementia should bear in mind when considering setting up Lasting Power of Attorney.

Law SocietyWhat common legal questions did you receive at The Alzheimer’s Show?

Mostly about the scope of an attorney’s powers under an LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) – i.e. what gifts can be made without court approval and are they doing the right thing. We were also asked how is it determined that a donor (person with dementia) still has capacity, the differences between Property & Finance and Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorneys and the difference between appointing attorneys jointly or jointly and severally.

 

Let’s tackle some commonly asked questions. What should a person do if they are not sure who to choose to be the appointed person for a Lasting Power of Attorney?

As attorneys have such wide powers (unless it is limited in the LPA) it’s very important to choose the right person/people to act. If after careful consideration, a donor can still not decide whom they want to appoint then they might consider appointing a professional person such as their financial advisor or solicitor. The donor should bear in mind that professionals are likely to charge for their services and, although trustworthy, might not be best placed to make certain decisions, as they are unlikely to know the person personally.

 

When appointing an attorney, what key points would you advise a person with dementia to consider?

When appointing an attorney, the donor should consider the following:

  • How well do they know the proposed attorney?
  • How well does the attorney look after their own affairs?
  • Do they trust them implicitly?
  • Are your affairs complex? Would the proposed attorney have the necessary skills required?
  • How happy would the attorney be to make decisions for the donor?
  • If the donor appoints more than one attorney, would the attorneys get on?

It’s worth pointing out that a person living with dementia will only be able to make a Lasting Power of Attorney if they are still considered to have capacity, otherwise a deputyship application would be the only option going forward.

 

What should a person do if they decide they no longer wish an attorney they have previously appointed to have control over their affairs or wellbeing?

A donor can cancel an LPA at any time provided they have the capacity to do so, even after it has been registered. If they have concerns as to how the attorney is acting, they can raise these with the Office of the Public Guardian.

More information

For more information on setting up Lasting Power of Attorney, CLICK HERE.