For expert advice or representation with any legal issue affecting elderly or vulnerable people or their families, carers or Trustees, call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9056 or contact us online.
We Can Help With:
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)
Living Wills (sometimes called Advance Decisions)
Advice & representation on all mental capacity matters
Applications to the Court of Protection
Making Plans for the Future
Whether it’s because of an accident or illness, people can lose the ability to manage their financial, health and legal affairs. So that you’re ready no matter what the future has in store, you can choose someone to manage not only your property and finances should you become incapable of doing so, but also to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf.
Our team can help you do this by advising you on and drafting a Lasting Power of Attorney for you.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is designed to give you greater control over what happens to you if you’re not able to make your own decisions (in other words, if you lack mental capacity) because of an accident or illness. It’s a legal document that allows you to appoint a person or people you trust to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
There are two different types of LPA. One focusses on your property and financial affairs; the other is centred on your health and welfare. You can decide to make one type of LPA or both. These documents come into effect once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and in the case of Health and Welfare LPAs if you lose your mental capacity. A Property and Affairs LPA can be used by your chosen attorney(s) whilst you retain capacity but you decide you don’t want to make decisions for yourself any longer.
By setting up an LPA now, you can ensure you’re covered in the future should something happen that impacts on your mental capacity.
Property and financial LPAs:
An LPA for property and finances can be used when registered and whilst you still have the capacity to make decisions, or you can specify that you only want it to come into effect in the event you lose this capacity. It can cover a range of things, including:
- Paying a mortgage
- Buying and selling property
- Making financial investments
- Paying bills
- Arranging property repairs
You can pick and choose the types of decisions you’d like your attorney to make, or you can allow them to make all property and financial decisions for you.
Health and Welfare LPAs:
This type of LPA can only come into effect once registered and you have lost mental capacity. They give your attorney the ability to make decisions about things such as:
- The medical care you receive
- Where you should live
- Who you should have contact with
- What sort of social activities you should take part in
- What you should eat
- What clothes you wear
These legal documents can also give your attorney permission to make decisions about life-saving medical treatments.
Why are LPAs so important?
None of us know what’s around the corner, so it’s important to have provisions in place in case you are no longer able to make decisions. Many people assume that if they are married or in a civil partnership, their spouse will automatically have the authority to make decisions on their behalf regarding issues such as healthcare, pensions, bank details and so on. In fact, this isn’t the case. Spouses need an LPA to be in place in order to make these decisions.
Living Wills/Advance Decisions
If you do not provide your attorneys with authority to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment (or you don’t have a Health and Welfare LPA in place), you can make the decision to refuse life-sustaining treatment for yourself in advance by making a living Will.
A living Will is a written statement that details your wishes in terms of the medical treatment that you do or do not want to receive. These documents operate if you become incapacitated or terminally ill and cannot then provide proper instructions yourself.
Living Wills can refer to advance statements of wishes. These instructions detail your likes and dislikes and the things you consider to be important for you to feel comfortable. The documents should be considered by anyone who is responsible for providing your care. However, they are not legally binding.
In contrast, advance decisions to refuse treatment are legally binding. These decisions allow you to refuse certain medical treatments in advance even if this might lead to your death. Those caring for you must follow the instructions you lay out in an advance decision to refuse treatment. They only come into effect if you lose the ability to make or express decisions about your healthcare.
Before making advance decisions, it’s a good idea to speak to healthcare professionals who know your medical history and can advise you on the benefits and risks of particular treatments.
You can record these statements in any way that’s convenient for you, but it’s important to give a copy to all those who are involved in your care, such as your GP. This will ensure the relevant people know your wishes. Also, bear in mind that if your advance decision specifies that you may refuse potentially life-saving treatment, it must be detailed in writing, signed and witnessed.
How we can help
Planning for the future by setting up a LPA or making a living Will can be daunting. At Slater and Gordon Lawyers, our specialist solicitors have a wealth of experience in this area and are perfectly placed to take the stress and uncertainty out of these decisions. We will guide you through the relevant steps and offer all the information and advice you need to ensure the process runs smoothly from start to finish.
Making decisions for someone else
If someone close to you is no longer able to make their own decisions, you might find it hard to access the support you need from both financial and medical institutions. The team at Slater and Gordon Lawyers can help you at this difficult time by talking you through the options available to you.
It might be that the person you care about had made provisions for the future by drawing up an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). EPAs were replaced by LPAs in 2007, but are still able to be used. They can be used by your attorney(s) before you lose your mental capacity with your permission. If you should lose you mental capacity, the EPA will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Please note that EPAs only deal with financial decisions not health and welfare decisions. Our specialist solicitors are on hand to advise you on the duties you are expected to perform in this capacity and on the scope of your powers.
Our team can also assist you if you need to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a third party, either yourself or a professional third party, to make important decisions for someone you care about. They are also able to advise you regarding Statutory Wills.
If there is a dispute between family members over what is best for an elderly or vulnerable relative who’s unable to make their own decisions, we can help to resolve this problem. It may be that a meeting in which a third party acts as a mediator can bring about agreement. Alternatively, the family members might need to go to court in order to ask a judge to come to a decision on their behalf. Our lawyers deal with these situations with the utmost sensitivity and work to find the best possible solution for those involved.
Why choose Slater and Gordon Lawyers?
As one of the largest and best known law firms in the country, with offices across England and Wales, we’re here to help you plan for the future or make decisions on behalf of someone else. It’s our mission to provide our clients with easy access to world-class legal services.
Whether you want to set up a LPA, make a living Will, get advice and representation on mental capacity matters or make an application to the Court of Protection, you can rely on our team to guide you through the process and help you achieve the results you want.
Years of experience
With more than 90 years’ experience, we have built a reputation for excellence. When you come to us for help with issues concerning elderly and vulnerable care, you can rest assured you’ll benefit from the highest levels of knowledge and expertise.
A sensitive approach
We know that dealing with issues such as end of life care can be difficult for our clients and always ensure we have a sensitive approach. Our lawyers specialising in elderly and vulnerable care are there to offer reassurance and they will provide clear guidance throughout the process so that you understand your options and can make the right decisions for you.
Members of professional bodies
Our award winning team has solicitors who are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) so you can rest assured that you are in good hands. ).
Using language you understand
We know that when you’re seeking legal advice for issues connected to elderly and vulnerable care, the last thing you want is to be confronted with a wall of jargon. Because of this, our team always communicate in straightforward, clear language so that you know exactly what your options are and can make decisions with confidence and clarity.
For further information about our services, or if you have a specific question you would like to ask, don’t hesitate to call our Welfare, Trust and Estate Solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9056 or you can contact us online.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers has offices in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Cardiff.