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Who would handle your affairs if you were suddenly unable to do so for yourself?

23 August 2018 Wills, Trusts & Estates Susan Mackay

Nobody likes to think about a time when they won't be able to make their own decisions, but it can help to be prepared. Incapacity can happen at any time and come completely out of the blue from a serious accident or stroke, to a long-term illness.

That is why it is so important that everyone has a Power of Attorney, as well as a Will, in place. A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.

There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf:

  • This could just be a temporary situation: for example, if you are in hospital and need help with everyday things such as making sure bills are paid.
  • Alternatively, you may need to make longer-term plans if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia. Many people with dementia will eventually reach a point where they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves – known as lacking ‘mental capacity’. When this happens, someone else, often a carer or family member, will need to make decisions on their behalf.

One person in the UK develops dementia every three minutes. Yet don't assume relatives can just walk into a bank and access your money, even if it is to pay for your care. Unless you've a Power of Attorney already, loved ones would need to apply through court, which can be long and costly.

Just about anyone can take on Power of Attorney on your behalf. It is a position where absolute trust plays a vital role and many people choose a friend or family member who will not only have their best interests at heart, but who will act responsibly, and who has the right skills to help you when you need it most.

It is a huge decision but one that should be made sooner rather than later. Our Private Client solicitors at Macnabs are dementia trained and understand how to support people planning for their future.

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