It is an unfortunate fact that many people do not understand the critical importance of having a power of attorney in place and it is often considered too late and sometimes in distressing circumstances. We believe that it is an essential element of estate planning and should be the next thing to take into consideration after making a will.
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as attorneys) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens if you have an accident or an illness and are no longer able to make your own decisions. Lasting powers of attorney can be made in respect of property and financial affairs and also health and welfare. The authority granted under a lasting power of attorney can continue even if a person loses mental capacity through ill health or in later life.
Except in exceptional circumstances, we encourage all of our clients to put in place lasting powers of attorney and are highly experienced at managing this process simply and efficiently. It is important to do this while the individual has the mental capacity to make the decision and we recommend it is done as soon as a will has been made. This is because once an individual loses mental capacity it can be very difficult for a family to make decisions on their behalf in relation to their property and financial affairs or their health and welfare, without having to make an application to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed. This can be both time-consuming and expensive.
Making a living will is an alternative to a health and welfare lasting power of attorney. This enables a person to set out specific wishes regarding medical treatment in an end of life situation but its scope is much narrower than that of a lasting power of attorney.
We offer advice to help clients select the most appropriate option for their individual circumstances. Powers of attorney and living wills are generally prepared on a fixed-fee basis.
Who we help
We work with a broad range of clients of all ages and in varying circumstances to ensure their affairs are in order and their wishes will be respected in the event that their circumstances change.