I wonder if you already have a lasting Power of Attorney in place?
It might be a bit of a strange question out of the blue on a Monday morning, but the whole topic's just been brought to mind once again by my sister’s situation. I'd raised the subject with her early after my brother-in-law was diagnosed with dementia and I was worried that he' reach a place when his cognition would decline so that he wasn't capable of handling his financial affairs any longer. My sister promised to look into it, but it is a touchy subject and in the end, she didn't ask him to think about it. Sadly it's turned out that she now needs access to finance to assist in keeping her husband comfortably looked after. And it's unlikely that he'll be considered to legally have the mental capacity to decide on his own.
For most of us it's a really difficult thing to bring up when we're caring for a loved one. No-one likes to think about ever being in this vulnerable position and even the closest of people can become suspicious, (quite rightly), when it's suggested, however gently, that they allow another, nominated person, to handle their affairs, so I think it's far better to think about it early for yourself, and save your loved ones having to raise it with you.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
In short it ensures that, should you be unable to manage your own affairs, the person you have appointed can manage your financial affairs on your behalf. This can save a great deal of money and distress, and will ensure that, as a vulnerable person, your affairs can be handled by someone you personally trust to handle things correctly and quickly.
It's vital, even if you share a joint bank account with the person concerned, as a bank can decide to restrict bank transactions on your accounts to essential transactions only when one of you is mentally incapacitated.
With no Power of Attorney in place the only remedy is to apply to the Court of Protection and have it decide who is going to be granted the necessary access to deal with someone else's affairs. That takes time and is frustrating, and could even result in someone you wouldn't choose to handle your affairs. While it's going on, you may still be liable to pay bills etc. All in all it can make life very worrying and frustrating for those who are caring for you.
Although I was a bit annoyed with my sister for falling into this horrible situation, I did understand that it can be a tricky thing to deal with, and not only that, but I stopped short on realising I still don't have one in place either. Because I’m no spring chicken either, and just because I'm fine this week, it doesn't mean I will be next week, so I'm going to take steps to put this in place right away, so that there won’t be similar difficulties, if, I should become mentally incapacitated.
It’s simple to arrange while you have good mental capacity, and it can give so much peace of mind. It also saves relatives having to raise the touchy subject with you, when it's in place already.
It’s really very easy to find more information about a Lasting Power of Attorney by searching online under that name. Much of the preparation can be completed online. It's really well worth considering seriously.
Photo: Aaron Burden, Unsplash