Take on Me!

One of those life-changing “a-ha” moments – by Kate Norris

Kate Article Image

I’m guessing, if you’re a fan of 1980s pop, the three words in the title above, “Take on Me”, conjure up images of an animated Scandinavian heartthrob, escaping wrench-wielding attackers with a girl he pulled into his comic book. Sounds like a weird “cheese-induced dream” however it’s rightly regarded as a classic, ground-breaking video.

But what has this got to do with legal matters?

Morten might not have been thinking of his mortality when singing the lyric but when listening to the track recently, that line, “Take on me, take me on” stirred an “a-ha” moment for me. The iconic words of the song literally “take on” a new meaning when we think about others taking responsibility for our key life choices.  A large part of my work is helping families with members who have lost the capacity to make their own decisions. I cannot tell you how much easier that is when that individual has already decided on those they trust to take on that responsibility on their behalf.

It’s a challenge I face daily, introducing a subject most of us find very hard to even think about let alone discuss and plan with our family.  I’m referring to our impermanence, or “best by date” in plain English.  Before you dismiss such thoughts, claiming your shelf-life is well beyond that of dried pasta and it isn’t a subject for you, I can assure you, from my 30+ years of experience, the points I’m raising here apply to us all, whatever stage of our adult lives. We need to get past the negative thoughts and consider it just a bit of life admin that provides comfort.  A form of life insurance where you create a policy with tailored terms that suit your needs.

To bring home the reality of why this might be something to add to the to-do list. There are currently some 2 million people in the UK who cannot make decisions for themselves and the reasons they need support are many and varied. Possibly a condition from birth or maybe an accident or illness.

“Mental capacity is the ability to make decisions when required. Fundamentally you need to understand the context and consequence of decisions to be regarded as having mental capacity.”

Yes, it’s a heavy subject and it’s no surprise we don’t want to dwell too much on the “what if” scenarios that hopefully will never happen or certainly not for many years to come.  Unfortunately, capacity-limiting conditions such as dementia, bipolar or the effects of a stroke are not uncommon. I’m sure we will all know a family that’s been impacted by one or more of these situations. Imagine the relief that comes from having already made a proactive move to decide on what happens in such circumstances.

What might come as a surprise to you is that your spouse will not automatically be granted decision-making authority if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions that could affect your welfare or the management of finances. A sudden change in someone’s capabilities can often lead to some anxious delays in managing their affairs.

It’s true to say that starting this conversation will understandably lead to questions, ones I’d ask myself if I wasn’t qualified in this area of law. Here are some of the most common.


  1. Why should I plan for a loss of capacity?
  2. What are the main options?
  3. Is it worth it?
  4. What does it cost?
  5. Shouldn’t my will cover my wishes?


  1. The pandemic proved that we are vulnerable and that life can take sharp, unexpected turns. In planning for and anticipating worse-case, life-changing events we can keep a step ahead and make life easier for our families if they arise.
  2. A little bit of admin can deliver what is known as a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA. There are two versions of an LPA; one can assist with matters relating to Health and Welfare and the other with Finance and Property. You can complete the forms yourself or engage a professional to ensure that there are no oversights or errors in the process.
  3. As to value, it’s the price of peace of mind for those with LPAs. It’s an insurance policy guaranteeing that your chosen representative will follow specific wishes and act in their best interest.
  4. A single LPA would cost in the region of £500, but doing both together is more cost-effective and would cost in the region of £750 plus VAT and the Court registration fee of £82 per LPA – not an insignificant amount, but when you consider the potential benefits, it is incredibly good value.
  5. If you already have a traditional will, it won’t cover the specific authorities that an LPA supports. A “living will” may take precedence but only if it was drafted after not before an LPA.

I am acutely aware of the sensitivities any conversation around capacity and future life choices entails.  Based on my experience, in starting the conversation you might learn more about your own true wishes which can be a rewarding process. Those you choose to “Take on You” often do so with a feeling of pride and honour to be so entrusted. It turns what many think is a depressing and dark discussion into one that enlightens and reassures those involved.

If you would like more information I wrote about the subject last year, click here to access https://www.mogersdrewett.com/the-importance-of-lasting-powers-of-attorney/

Alternatively, you might prefer to arrange a call to discuss your circumstances and understand the most appropriate steps for you and your family.

Kate norris

Kate Norris

Tel 01225 750055

Email: kate.norris@mogersdrewett.com

Image by Philip Barrington from Pixabay


Mogers Drewett

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