Question: I am a widower and my only relative is my sister who lives in Canada whom I have not seen for 10 years. I own my home and have three rental properties. My mother had Alzheimer’s before she died and I am worried about what will happen to me if I develop it. Someone has said that I should make a Power of Attorney. I know nothing about this, can you help?
© Malcolm Willett (www.willett-ink.co.uk)
Answer: You should instruct a solicitor to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) under which you appoint an Attorney to act for you. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, there are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, a Personal Welfare LPA and a Property and Affairs LPA.
To deal with your properties you will need a Property and Affairs LPA, which will give your attorney the authority to make decisions about your property and financial affairs. You may also require a Personal Welfare LPA under the terms of which your Attorney can make decisions about your personal welfare, which can include health care and medical treatment decisions including life-sustaining treatment.
Your LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before your attorney can act on your behalf. There is a registration fee.
Within the terms of the LPA, you can restrict your attorney’s authority so that they can make decisions only once you lack capacity and you can specify how your capacity is to be assessed. As your only relative is in Canada, you may wish to ask your solicitor and/or a close friend to be your attorney. You can appoint more than one.
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Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors www.ttuk.com.