If something happens to you and you have to go into hospital for a lengthy period, this can have a seriously debilitating impact on your personal and financial circumstances. Perhaps particularly on your loved ones. This is just one case where you might be vulnerable and in situations like these, you need to know what you can do in advance. If you find yourself in such a situation and possibly undergoing extensive medical treatment, you may not be in a position to do much about it.
When considering your investment needs and requirements, you may also want to consider using a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). LPAs can allow you to control who would manage your affairs - whether they be family, friends or qualified professionals. When triggered, LPAs facilitate the appointment of these named individuals, who then can decide how your affairs are managed.
There are two versions of LPA:
1. Property and affairs
As the name suggests, this version of a LPA provides the means for you to appoint an individual to assume authority over how your property and financial affairs are managed. Indeed, whilst you might be hospitalised, nonetheless you could manage your financial affairs quite competently from there. However, you might want the ease of somebody else to actually manage these, especially during the time you are recovering. Indeed, you might find it far easier for someone else to manage the payment of bills and similar. Unless you have restricted the power, you will probably find it reassuring to know that LPAs continue to be legally valid, should you find yourself mentally incapacitated.
2. Personal welfare
In contrast, this version provides the means for you to appoint an individual to assume authority over how issues relating to your healthcare and welfare are managed. This includes the power to not let certain medical treatments take place and to decide where you may or may not reside. Please note that these powers can only be exercised if you do not have the capacity to do so yourself.
If you wish, you can appoint different people to each LPA. This may make sense if their obligations and areas of responsibilities are widely different, for example some financial and some personal, which call for people with different knowledge and skills. However, both versions need to be registered with the Office of Public Guardian for them to be valid.
If you become mentally incapacitated, you cannot create an LPA. However, if you find yourself in this position, then it is still possible to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. In such a situation you would incur fees and forms will need to be completed. Additionally, there could be court hearings and medical reports required. If this increases your fears associated with finding yourself in this situation, then you may want to consider how those who you would like to appoint might feel. Furthermore, little about this seems to be capable of being handled promptly or speedily and certainly not in the timescales you or they would want.
Accordingly, making sure a LPA has been drawn up in a timely manner, can take away much pressure and resulting anxiety on not only you, but also your loved ones and/ or friends. Many people view the prospect of holding acutely sensitive conversations about how someone they treasure, should be treated, with a great deal of trepidation. That said, if you want to make this potential situation as manageable as possible, then arranging for your own LPA to be put in place, can only help to ensure you have the people you want to help you manage your situation, when you are no longer in a position to do so.