Lasting Power of Attorney: My True Story
As a Solicitor, I have assisted countless numbers of clients to make Lasting Powers of Attorney. Some people I speak to recognise the importance of having these in place and act to ensure that someone they trust can manage their affairs if they lose their mental capacity, but many see the wisdom of having these in place but decide to delay until ‘tomorrow’.
A few years ago, a personal loved one made a Lasting Power of Attorney and appointed me as their Attorney. My loved one was later sadly diagnosed with dementia and as their mental capacity has deteriorated, I have experienced for myself the real benefit of a Lasting Powers of Attorney and I wanted to share my experience with you.
The first time I needed to act as Attorney was when my loved one was struggling to manage their finances. Their dementia had really started to affect their memory and concentration and they had become more socially withdrawn – making visits to the bank or signing paperwork a trigger for increased confusion and anxiety. With the use of the Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Finance, I was able to help my loved one with their paperwork, help them to make decisions about their property and finances and act with their consent when needed. This helped my loved one feel they could maintain as much independence as they had before their illness but with the support of someone they trusted to guide and assist when required.
As my loved one’s illness deteriorated, they slowly lost their mental capacity as to place or time. They are now vulnerable, requiring 24 hour care and are no longer capable of making their own decisions. By this time, they could no longer manage their finances and I was managing those in accordance with the Property & Finance Lasting Power of Attorney. However, my loved one had now lost their mental capacity and was unable to make decisions about their care – that’s when the Health & Welfare Power of Attorney could be used.
Important decisions needed to be made about their health, care, welfare and medications and the Lasting Power of Attorney provided myself and my joint attorney with the authority to make those important decisions together in their best interests. The Lasting Power of Attorney gave us the confidence to know that our loved one trusted us to make these important and sometimes difficult decisions on their behalf.
I have always advised my clients about the benefits of Lasting Powers of Attorney but my experience as an Attorney has taught me their true value. During this difficult journey, the Lasting Powers of Attorney has given me the legal authority to act in the best interests of my loved one and I have had to provide this document to many agencies and institutions like banks, social workers, hospitals, and care providers to evidence I am able to make decisions for my loved one.
At times of incredible stress when my family have needed to focus on providing care and support to our loved one, the LPA has spared us the additional cost and delay of having to apply to the Court of Protection for an order appointing an Attorney – the registered Lasting Power of Attorney was sitting there like an insurance policy which I could reach for with immediate effect when needed.
Put simply, the Lasting Powers of Attorney have been worth its weight in gold.
My loved one told me that making a Lasting Power of Attorney gave them peace of mind, so they knew that if they lost their capacity they had people who they trusted and loved looking out for them. Someone they had chosen and they trusted.
As an Attorney, having an LPA gave me a valuable tool to help my loved one and act on the trust they have placed in me to make decisions in their best interest. My loved one was wise enough to know that a Lasting Power of Attorney would give their family peace of mind too!
When my loved one was diagnosed with dementia, they were determined they were going to live each day as fully as possible – live for each moment, enjoy each day, and not worry about the ‘tomorrow’ their illness would bring they said. I am proud of how they have courageously faced and continue to deal with their devastating illness.
My loved one was right as usual– live for today but plan for ‘tomorrow’ – so you and your family can focus on each other without additional worry.
If you are interested in Lasting Powers of Attorney and would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Kerry Wigg. I would like to help deliver peace of mind to you.