I am often asked by family members what can they do to help their parents or grandparents.
Degenerative diseases and loss of mental capacity are on the rise as we live longer. Everyone hopes this will not happen to us or to our family and friends, but if it does, we need to be prepared and we need to help those we love to be prepared.
There are several things that can be done which will help you to support your loved ones if making decisions is becoming difficult for them.
If they still have capacity to do so, they can make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This will allow them to choose who they would like to make decisions on their behalf if they can no longer make those decisions themselves. It will allow them to give instructions and guidance about how they want those decisions to be made.
Even if their mental capacity is fluctuating, they still may be able to make an LPA. I can support them in this by working around their daily clock, finding the best time to talk to them and giving them the time and space so they have every opportunity to be successful.
If they no longer have capacity, then you will need to arrange to have a deputyship order put in place. This must be done through the Court of Protection and is a more complex procedure than an LPA.
They absolutely must make a Will, or review an old one, to make sure that their wishes about how they want their estate distributed after they have died are up to date.
Clients often tell me that they feel an enormous sense of relief once they have left their affairs in order and that it was not as hard as they thought to get it done.
This is an additional highly specialised qualification which makes me a Full Accredited Member of the Solicitors For the Elderly and gives me an in depth understanding of older clients, their key issues and how best to support and advise them. I am trained in older and vulnerable client care to take into account any difficulties both mental and physical which can affect older and vulnerable clients, I can assess and advise whether their capacity is sufficient and if in doubt, I can liaise with expert independent assessors.
SFE is a national association of independent lawyers who specialise in older client law. As specialists, SFE members are also trained in older client care so that they are able to take into account any difficulties both mental and physical which can affect older and vulnerable clients and are aware of the health and social problems that people may face.
People often say that getting started is the hardest part of all. Because you are reading this, you should feel encouraged that you have already begun the process, and my job is to help you from here. Simply pick up the phone and call me or drop me a short email.