Page 8 - Town & Around - June 2021
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8  Town & Around June 2021                                                           Tel: 01485 540620 email:

       Marital status and later life decisions

       By Emma Langley, Solicitor,  Hayes + Storr

            he coronavirus pandemic has seen   authority and a separate health and welfare
            many marriage and civil partnership   lasting power of attorney enables you to make
       Tceremonies postponed. A survey by the   your express wishes clear. You may also want
       wedding planning website Hitched found that   other family members involved in these
       71 per cent of couples had postponed their   decisions.
       weddings rather than proceed with just a   Unmarried couples are not automatically
       handful of guests.                considered next of kin and can find
        Despite the range of options available   themselves in a situation where medical
       nowadays, many couples prefer not to   decisions are made on their partner’s behalf
       formalise their relationships. Therefore, if you   without their consent. It is even more
       are unmarried, it is important to plan for   important therefore to have a health lasting
       circumstances which may occur later in life.    power of attorney in place.
        Couples who are cohabiting (or those in
       committed relationships but not living   For further information, call 01328 863231
       together) may find themselves in a situation   or email
       where medical and financial decisions are   This article is for general information only
       made on their partner’s behalf without their   and does not constitute legal or professional
       involvement.                      advice. Please note that the law may have
        A lasting power of attorney (LPA) sets out   changed since this article was published.
       who you want to make financial or healthcare
       decisions for you, should you lose mental
       capacity. Loss of mental capacity can be due
       to illness, accident, or a serious injury. Sadly,
       it can impact families at all stages in life and
       is not just an issue that effects the elderly.
        Later life, financial management
              and mental capacity
        Regardless of marital status, no one can
       access your sole financial accounts unless you
       have granted authority to them under a
       financial lasting power of attorney.
        Despite making a power of attorney being
       advisable, many people do not put one in
       place and relatives find themselves caring for
       a loved one who has lost mental capacity
       without having any authority to deal with that
       person’s finances.
        When this happens, an application to the
       Court of Protection to be appointed as the
       person’s deputy could be necessary. If you are
       paying for someone’s additional care, bills,
       groceries, or maintaining the upkeep of their
       property, in the absence of a power of
       attorney, an application to the Court of
       Protection is often the only way to obtain
       authority to access their funds. It is expensive
       and time consuming, a lasting power of
       attorney being quicker and cheaper.
        Before making a deputy appointment, the
       court will require sufficient evidence that you
       are the most appropriate person. For
       cohabiting couples, this can be trickier to
       establish than for those who are in a legally
       recognised union. Therefore, it is even more
       important for someone who is cohabiting to
       take steps to protect themselves in the event
       of lost capacity by making a lasting power of
       attorney while they are able to do so.

        Next of kin and health decisions
        Married couples and civil partners are
       afforded recognition as next of kin for medical
       purposes. Even so, this does not give absolute
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