Lasting Powers of Attorney: making your wishes clear

Jeremy Brooks

Article written by Jeremy Brooks, Solicitor, Private Client

If you are considering giving a Lasting Power of Attorney to a loved one, we understand that this may feel overwhelming. There are many considerations, including choosing someone you trust to carry out your wishes and conduct your affairs as you would want. Choosing the right attorney, and making your wishes clear to them, is an essential part of the Lasting Powers of Attorney process and can help you move forward in your life with confidence. In this article, we look at how to approach the discussion and how to ensure your wishes are clearly communicated when making Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Addressing your concerns about giving a Lasting Power of Attorney

Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney is essential for planning for the future. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and in the future, you may need someone to make decisions for you and carry out actions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to do so for yourself. A Power of Attorney is designed to provide peace of mind, but we understand that you may still be apprehensive. What if your attorney doesn’t know what to do? What if they do not follow your instructions? Concerns about Lasting Powers of Attorney are very normal, and there are steps you can take to make the process straightforward for your attorney, providing them with clarity about their role.

Choosing the right person to be your attorney

Most people have an idea about who they wish to be their attorney, but it is still important to consider your choice carefully. You should trust the person you choose to follow your wishes and have the common sense to manage your financial affairs and care confidently. You can also appoint more than one attorney. It is possible, for example, to appoint different people for a Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions to the ones you appoint for a Power of Attorney for Health and Care Decisions. If you appoint more than person to each Power, you can decide if you want them to act jointly on all decisions or whether you are happy for each of them to act on their own.

Discussing your wishes

We would recommend raising the issue with your family and loved ones before you make your Lasting Power of Attorney. They can then work with you to choose the best person for the role – it is usual that one of them will take on this role for you. They may raise concerns or issues that you had not considered. Discussing the Lasting Powers of Attorney with your loved ones is also an opportunity to clarify your wishes. You should discuss both financial matters and care matters. Care matters may be where you would like to live, what you like to eat or the clothes you like to wear as well as more fundamentally the sort of healthcare treatment you want once you become unable to make those decisions for yourself.

Setting out clearly how you would like your affairs to be managed

To give you additional peace of mind, you can also set out your wishes in a document known as an advanced statement. An advanced statement allows you to set out clear, written instructions. You may wish to include any wishes, preferences, values and beliefs about your future day-to-day care and medical care.

For more information on Lasting Powers of Attorney or to discuss a Private Client matter further, please feel free to email me or contact the Private Client department on 020 8858 6971.