Care Home Services Legal Advice

It is important to plan for the future and arrange your financial affairs before it becomes too late. It is advisable to make a Will, to safeguard wishes and wealth. Then, when the time comes, instructions are clear and probate granted.

Give some thought to the future and the current legal position. Who can act for a loved one who is seriously ill or incapacitated? How can their affairs are managed if they cannot do so or communicate? It might be something simple such as changing a regular payment at their bank. Without proper instruction, nothing can happen and this may cause distress for all concerned.

Wills

People wishing to make or change their Will should seek legal advice sooner rather than later especially if there are any issues about a person's capacity to make decisions. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides the legal framework for acting and making decisions on behalf of people aged 16 or over who cannot make particular decisions for themselves. Illness is often the cause, or a learning disability or mental health problems. The act covers decisions about an individual's property and financial affairs and decisions about health or personal care treatment. If a person's assessment shows a lack of capacity, the best interest decision can be made on the person's behalf. Any Enduring Power of Attorney made before the 1st October 2007 will remain valid but only in respect of your property and affairs, See Public guardian

Deprivation of Liberty (DOL) Safeguards 2009

DOL Safeguards are in place for people in hospitals and care homes who lack capacity or who can't make their own decisions about their care. A DOL authorisation must be obtained where people need to have their liberty taken away from them in order to receive care and/or treatment that is in their best interests and protects them from harm. It is the responsibility of the Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts to carry out regular assessments and reviews.

Lasting Power of Attorney

Just as with Wills, it is essential to arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney when you are fit and well enough to do so. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, which can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). A Lasting Power of Attorney should also be in place to enable a trusted friend, relative or professional to handle affairs, which a person can no longer manage.

There are two sorts of Lasting Power of Attorney.

1. Personal well-being –allowing an attorney to arrange for someone else's personal care.
2. Property and affairs - allows an appointed attorney to manage all financial affairs of another's life, including selling a property, paying bills and running a business.

Living wills

The term Living Will does not have a legal meaning, but is a statement of an 'advanced decision'. Just imagine that you cannot communicate about treatment following an illness. With a Living Will in place, your carers, care home or doctor can comply with your wishes. The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing recognise Living Wills and it all helps with peace of mind.

To make a Living Will, and some Care Homes will ask if there is one in place, contact your solicitor or lawyer. See Living Wills.
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