A recent storyline in Coronation Street shows the need for greater awareness and knowledge of how Lasting Powers of Attorney work.
In the famous British soap, the iconic character Audrey Roberts (played by Sue Nicholls) decided she was updating her Will and leaving all her money to the Weatherfield Association of Retail Traders. Her family were shocked and upset at being excluded from her Will, losing any hope of inheritance. Particularly, her grandson David who spoke about getting power of attorney over his grandmother in order to somehow change her Will. Turns out, this was a test from Audrey who did eventually tell her family that she loves them and will leave them her money, but it will be held in a Trust by her son Stephen (which they were not all too happy with!)
It was interesting to see the lack of awareness of what a lasting power of attorney can be used for and who can actually prepare one (i.e. this cannot be taken out by another individual on your behalf). There are different types of power of attorney, for your health and finances. Having a lasting power of attorney in place means that a trusted family member or friend can make decisions about your health or finances if you lose capacity and cannot decide for yourself.
None of us like to think about being incapable of making decisions for ourselves and I come across clients who believe they will never lose capacity. However, as Audrey has found recently, our personal circumstances can change very quickly.
Here at Waldrons, we would advise anyone who is thinking about making a will, a lasting power of attorney, or setting up a trust to get good advice from a trusted professional. This advice can help families think through their decisions and avoid unnecessary distress.