We don’t need Powers of Attorney yet, we are not old and we are quite capable of looking after ourselves – I have heard these comments many times.  My response is that’s great and long may it continue but what will happen if you suddenly can’t and do you know when that will be?

I have recently helped Maureen and her family when not long after celebrating their golden wedding anniversary Jim suffered a stroke.  The stroke left him with not only physical disabilities but unfortunately affected his capacity leaving him unable to look after his affairs.

Jim has always been a proud man and looked after his wife and two daughters impeccably.  He had worked for the same employer all of his working life and was proud to own his house and have some savings in the bank to see them into retirement.  Like many of Jim and Maureen’s contemporaries as Jim was the primary wage earner the mortgage had been in his sole name and the house never put in joint names when the mortgage had finished.  Jim’s pension went into an account in his sole name and he paid all the bills from it giving Maureen the weekly housekeeping.

Suddenly Jim and Maureen had a problem. Maureen didn’t have a Power of Attorney for Jim and could not access his account.  Her state pension went into her account but this was not enough to cover everything and Suffolk County Council wanted a contribution from Jim towards his care fees.

Maureen and her daughters came into to see me for advice and help to unpick the problems they were facing. We have helped them apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a Deputy for Jim giving them the ability to deal with his affairs and make payments on his behalf.  We have advised Maureen about creating a Power of Attorney so her daughters don’t find themselves in a pickle again if something happens to her and we have also reviewed her Will in light of the couple’s change in circumstances.

I am not sure I really want a crystal ball but to be on the safe side I would like to stress the importance of thinking ahead, planning for what hopefully won’t happen in the future, and continuing to protect your family by making sure your Wills and Powers of Attorney are up to date and in order.

For more information and assistance please contact Emma Woollard on 01473 298342 or ewoollard@prettys.co.uk.

Emma Woollard