10th June 2020
Carer’s week is an annual campaign to raise awareness, highlight challenges and show appreciation for the 6.5 million paid and unpaid carers across the UK.
It is important to recognise the wonderful work and support that many people do everyday that is a much-needed lifeline to vulnerable adults and children.
This year the country faces different challenges due to coronavirus. We are all showing our appreciation of the nurses and carers that are treating people who are suffering from Covid-19 but also those who continue to work in the care industry and those who have found themselves becoming carers for their family members, friends and neighbours in need of support.
Whether you chose a career in care or have found yourself looking after a vulnerable person more recently, you may be concerned about more than just their physical health.
There is already a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, but you do need to be aware of the mental capacity of the person you are caring for and their ability to make important, legal decisions.
If you are an employed carer or volunteer, then it may be worth contacting their next of kin or family members to ensure that they have a Lasting Power of Attorney for finances and property and / or health and wellbeing.
If a vulnerable adult does not have someone appointed to assist with their finances, assets and medical decisions then they may have difficulty accessing the right support and if they become very unwell.
On a side note, if they were to pass away without a will, their affairs can be trickier to deal with too.
If you are a close family member then it is worth speaking to the individual and finding out if they have made provisions for if they were to become unable to deal with their own legal matters.
A lasting power of attorney will appoint a specific person or persons who they entrust to make important decisions on their behalf. Without this, you may need to involve the Court of Protection or Social Services which can cause delays and added expense.
Once you or the nominated person has evoked the legal document it can be used to carry out tasks such as:
It is worth noting that Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are useful for elderly or terminally ill people but are also a valuable tool for people of any age to have in place. People who have sustained brain injury, suffer from poor mental health, learning difficulties or who become ill very quickly may not have capacity to put measures in place to protect themselves.
Many carers forget about protecting themselves as they are so busy caring for other people and working long hours. Their minds become preoccupied with their responsibilities for other people that we often speak to family members, nurses and carers who have forgotten to make their own legal provisions.
Whilst it may be unlikely, it is worth considering what would happen to the people you look after should you become ill or pass away. This is where it is important to make provisions for yourselves in the form of legal documents such as LPAs and wills.
If you are yet to get round to making any of these then make a mental note to get these in order by a certain time. If you set yourself a deadline then you are much more likely to get round to it.
If you would like more information on Lasting Power of Attorneys to pass onto someone you care for or would like to start the process of putting some protection in place for a family member or indeed yourself then please speak to Debbie Duggan in our Private Client Department who specialises in this area of law.
Call us on 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant on our website at any time of day.
We continue to work during lockdown and are preparing our office for reopening very soon. We understand that your patients or loved ones may be shielding and we are able to speak to clients over the phone and via video conferencing in order to give legal advice and witness the signing of documents.
Where There’s a Will, There’s an LPA
Carry On Caring – Barbara Windsor’s Message on Dementia
I’m An Executor of a Will, What do I Need to Know?
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
Lamb Brooks LLP
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