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TV drama highlights the importance of LPAs

View profile for Leah Woodnott
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TV drama highlights the importance of LPAs

I recently watched Channel 4’s “Help” starring Stephen Graham who played a resident at a fictional care home, Bright Sky Homes and Jodie Comer who played a carer working at the care home.

The drama showed how COVID-19 was spread in care homes during the beginning of the pandemic and how COVID-19 impacted many residents and the key workers.  I won’t go into too much detail about the ins and outs of the drama in order not to give you any spoilers, but I was left feeling very sad for all those involved in the real world, the residents of care homes, families of the residents and the key workers.

As someone who works in the Wills, Trust and Probate Team, I often come across families who have a loved one receiving care either in a care home, or at their own home.  One thing families often ask is “how can I help them deal with their finances or health and welfare needs, as I do not have the legal authority to do so”.

My advice is that if a loved one who is receiving care still has mental capacity, then they can enter into a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”).  There are two types of LPAs, one that covers their financial affairs and the other that covers their health and welfare. 

A person (the donor) can appoint people as their attorneys, to look after their affairs on their behalf if they need any assistance in the future.  The donor and attorneys will need to sign the forms and then the LPAs must be sent to the court, the Office of the Public Guardian and it is only once they have been registered that they can be used.

The property and financial affairs LPA allows your attorneys to manage the donor’s bank accounts, paying any utility bills, have the power to sell your property if needed and help with the day-to-day management of your financial affairs.

The health and welfare LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions about any life sustaining treatment, moving into a care home, medical care and your daily routine regarding washing, eating and dressing.

If a person has already lost capacity then they cannot enter into a LPA and so their loved ones will have to gain access to their property and financial affairs via the Deputyship Order process. This is a much longer and more costly process than putting in place LPAs. Deputyship Orders for a person’s health and welfare are granted very few and far between. 

People often think that they have to wait until they are old to put in place LPAs, but this is not the case.  You can put in place an LPA if you are over the age of 18 and ideally you want to have put the LPA in place before you need your attorneys to act.

If you or a loved one would like to make a Lasting Power of Attorney then please contact one of our specialists on 01206 217609 or leah.woodnott@birkettlong.co.uk.

 

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