It can be upsetting to contemplate a time in the future when we may be unable to manage our own affairs without help. Most of us agree, however, that if we were in this position, we would want things to be as easy as possible for those caring for us. One precaution you can take now is to sign a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), a legal form of authority whereby you nominate who you would want to manage your affairs on your behalf if you become physically or mentally incapable of doing so yourself.
By signing an LPA you ensure that you have selected the people who are best suited to help you. Under a Property & Affairs LPA, your attorneys will be able to deal with your bank accounts, investments, utility suppliers and decisions relating to your home. Under a Health and Welfare LPA, your attorneys have authority to make health and care-related decisions for you. You may also (if you wish) give your attorneys authority to refuse medical treatment intended to prolong your life, in certain circumstances.
You can place restrictions or conditions on your attorneys under the power and you can give them guidance on how you would like them to manage your affairs on your behalf.
In the event that you haven’t signed an LPA and then lose mental capacity, it may be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed to manage your affairs. This is expensive and best avoided.