Over the last 16 years of being a solicitor I have noted that more and more clients need to make Lasting Powers of Attorney so not only their children but their partners or spouses can make decisions for them when they need help.
The main reason I have spotted is while obviously we are living longer we need more care but also clients now have more assets to be looked after too. Nevertheless, the the main difficulty for many families I meet is the Data Protection Act which can prevent children form helping their parents and Husbands/Wives from helping their spouse!
A surprise to many families I meet is that there is no law of next of kin! The law is choosing someone to help you by making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
The bets time to make Lasting Powers of Attorney is now, when you can understand how the documents work, who is best to choose and then hope you never need them. They are not documents to be made "when you need help" as that is so often too late. It is not your family who ask for a Lasting Power of Attorney it is you who give the power away.
Without these documents in place your family may be stuck and unable to help and they may have to apply to the "Court of Protection" for permission to help you and be subject to their rules and oversight which can be less flexible and more costly to you and your family
People are living longer so it is vitally important we plan - not just for our own care, but also help our parents plan as well. There may come a time where we can no longer make these vital decisions about our future finances and our care. Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are one way to plan ahead. There are two different types of LPA: property and affairs, and health and welfare. The first type of LPA covers decisions about money and property. A health and welfare LPA allows the attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your future day-to-day care if you are no longer able to care for yourself, including, if you wish, the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. You decide what powers the attorney can have.