If you are responsible for helping an elderly person with their practical and financial affairs, you need to consider what actual legal authority you have to deal with their finances and assets.
If the arrangements that you have are purely informal you should think about what would happen if the elderly person became incapable of understanding or managing their finances. An elderly person who no longer understands their money and financial affairs must not sign cheques or other legal documents. You may be vulnerable to criticism and investigation if you do not have formal legal authority to do what you do for the elderly person. Being someone’s husband or wife or child does not give you any legal authority over their assets. There is no legal concept of ‘next of kin’.
Anyone can put in place formal arrangements appointing someone to be their attorney. The attorney can be given powers to deal with finances and property or make welfare and personal decisions under a lasting power of attorney. Before October 2007 it was possible to make an enduring power of attorney dealing only with property and finances. If signed before 1st October 2007 these are still legally valid. If you would like advice about either a lasting power of attorney or an existing enduring power of attorney please contact us.
We are happy to visit elderly people at home to help them arrange their wills or powers of attorney.
To arrange a no-obligation appointment with a member of our professional team, please call 01229 580956 or 015394 42255.