I can’t have a Power of Attorney can I?
20 September 2018 by Anastasia Packman
Many people have heard about Powers of Attorney which are documents which give a person or people authority to:-
(a) look after their finances, either immediately after all of the formalities have been completed or later depending on circumstances and/or
(b) look after their health and welfare decisions when they cannot do this for themselves.
Power to attorney can be made by adults of any age but a group of people who often do not consider Powers of Attorney are those who have special needs, in fact some Parents of adult children with special needs who have say Downs Syndrome are surprised to find out that once their child is over 16 they lose their automatic right to make decisions on their child’s behalf. Indeed, some believe that all such people are not eligible for Powers of Attorney but such a broad statement is not true as every individual case is different and some people with special needs are fully able to decide to have such documents.
It is true that meetings with special needs clients often take longer than average in order to ensure that the client has fully understood what is involved but this is no reason why such meetings should not take place. When I first qualified as a Solicitor back in 1985 there were still some people who were daunted by a visit to a lawyer and by and large, this attitude has changed. However, it is still daunting for a few people and clients with special needs often fall into this category. In order to break the ice when first meeting such clients and to give them confidence, I find it helpful to spend some time having a general chat about subjects ranging from Strictly Come Dancing to football teams and favourite foods. This often encourages clients to open up and meetings frequently become more relaxed as a result.
There is no harm at all in enquiring whether Powers of Attorney could assist with financial/health and welfare decisions as in some instances they can be extremely useful. Over the past few years, I have prepared numerous Powers of Attorney for clients with Downs Syndrome and other special needs and I find dealing with such clients to be very rewarding for me and I hope for the client too.
If you would like to book an appointment with Diane, call 01277 420223 or visit her profile here for more information: https://www.fjg.co.uk/blog/people/diane-rudd