Robert Mitchell, one of Beviss & Beckinsale's Private Client Solicitors based at our Honiton Branch, has been writing about making proper arrangements to sort out your affairs and the importance of making a will:
"If you lose mental capacity in old age, or for any reason find yourself relying on your children or others to make decisions for you, then it can make things very much easier if you appoint them to be your “attorneys” under a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”). If you lose capacity without appointing an attorney, then your family may have to apply to the Court of Protection which can be cumbersome, slow and expensive.
LPAs were introduced in 2007 to replace the previous system of Enduring Powers of Attorney (“EPAs”). EPAs made under the old regime can still be valid and useful, but you cannot now make a new EPA.
There are two kinds of LPA – one for property and financial affairs, the other for health and welfare decisions (e.g. social care, medical treatment or end of life decisions). An important difference between them is that a health & welfare LPA can only be used for decisions which you are no longer capable of making for yourself, whereas a property & financial affairs LPA can, if you wish, be used even though you have not actually lost capacity but simply want somebody else to take over the burden of managing your affairs.
LPA forms are available from the government website (www.gov.uk) and you do not have to involve a solicitor. However, you may want to do so if you need help to manage the forms, if you have complex requirements, or if you cannot think of anyone else to act as your attorney."
Robert would be pleased to advise you on all of these issues should you need any help. You can call him on 01404 548050 or email him: firstname.lastname@example.org.