Q: I was widowed a few years ago and have no children or even godchildren. My only living relative now is my sister, and she lives abroad. Over the past year this has played on my mind because I have watched two close friends lose mental capacity due to dementia. In their cases they had children who had a registered lasting power of attorney to handle their affairs, but what does someone like me do when they have no-one to act for them?
A: Sadly, there are a lot of people in your position who are faced with the same dilemma. However, it would still make sense for you to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), as it will allow you to decide who runs your affairs. Without an LPA, if you should become unable to manage your financial affairs yourself, it would fall to your friends or the local authority to alert the Court of Protection that legal authority is needed to manage them for you.
The attorney you appoint does not have to be a family member or close friend. The only stipulation is that they are over 18 years of age, have mental capacity and are not an undischarged bankrupt. That said, unless they are a close friend or relative, people are often reticent to put what they perceive as a burden on someone they know less well, for example a friend’s son or daughter, by asking them to take on the role of attorney.
If you do not appoint an attorney and it falls upon the Court of Protection to do so, it will usually appoint an independent solicitor to manage your affairs. It may therefore be preferable for you to choose your own solicitor and appoint them as attorneys now whilst you have capacity, rather than have a complete stranger manage your affairs because you have left the choice to the Court of Protection.
This question has been answered by Ulia Choudhry, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194