You may have made a Will to ensure that, on your death, your estate passes to those people or causes most important to you, but what about during your lifetime?

Suppose that either very suddenly or due to a progressive illness you become unable to manage your personal affairs such as your banking, your property or organising your medical treatment or care. Who will deal with this for you? Who do you trust to deal with this? If you cannot make decisions about these matters, then someone will have to make them on your behalf and they will have to act in your best interests.

You may have made an Enduring Power of Attorney before October 2007 appointing someone to manage your financial affairs and property on your behalf should the need arise. Following the passing of the MCA 2005, a new legal document was created allowing a person to appoint someone to manage their affairs in the event that the person could no longer manage matters themselves. However EPAs are still valid, as long as your chosen Attorney is still willing and able to act on your behalf.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is similar to an EPA in that it allows you to give your authority to whoever you choose (who will be your Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf if you are not able to make them yourself. You can make separate LPAs for your financial matters and for your care and medical treatment and you can provide instructions or guidance on the LPA to help your Attorney act in accordance with your wishes. We can assist you to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney and discuss with you the range of matters that you may wish the document to cover.

By signing an LPA you are not giving up your ability to manage your own affairs. You can continue to deal with things for as long as you are able but should you need your Attorney to help you, the LPA must first be activated by registering with the Office of the Public Guardian, with which we can assist you or your Attorney.

Sadly, sometimes the chosen Attorney does not deal with matters appropriately and financial abuse occurs. Our department has experience of advising clients and concerned relatives on this issue and can assist in making applications to the Office of the Public Guardian, the office which protects people who lack capacity from abuse.

For further information please contact our Private Client team by telephone on 0118 958 9711 or email info@barrettandco.co.uk to arrange an appointment for you to meet with one of our solicitors at our office in Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire. Please let us know if Reading is not convenient for you as we can also arrange client appointments at your home where required.

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