Topic Tuesday – Elderly and at risk clientsNov 19, 2019
Category: Elderly Law
Firstly, most of my clients don’t consider themselves to be elderly, and even if they do very few of my clients like to think of themselves “at risk”.
I see them as human beings, at difficult times of their lives when they need help, even though they think they’re coping, because of my experience I can see problems in the future that they either can’t see or prefer not to. When things have progressed and these individuals are unwell, and unable to manage their lives as easily as others or as they once could I then deal with their carers. Because caring is a role that that person did not apply for and would not choose to take on if they could avoid it they are usually under a great deal of stress and also have their own lives to get on with and are in need of support. The most important thing I do is see all of these people with a sense of compassion and an aim to try and make their lives better.
When someone is unwell, I would advise them to create powers of attorney, so that someone else can assist in the management of their affairs if they become more unwell in the future. There are two kinds of powers of attorney, one covering finance and one covering health and welfare decisions. In order to create powers of attorney, it is key that the person trusts whoever is to become their attorney as they will have a significant impact on how their lives are managed in the future, if the powers of attorney are needed.
If someone’s impairment is too great to create powers of attorney, then I can always assist in applications to the court of protection for a deputy ship, which functions in a very similar way to powers of attorney, however there is oversight of the actions of the deputy by the office of the Public Guardian, who will ensure that the deputy has acted appropriately. The court of protection has jurisdiction over people who lack capacity, and they refer to them as “protected parties”. Where there is a need to make a decision for an individual who lacks capacity and it is beyond simply appointing a deputy, I can also assist in applications to the court of protection for orders regarding gifting, residency, care or changing their will, to name but a few.
When people have a health crisis and something about their care is changing, these can be very stressful times and also times when either the NHS and/or social services are involved in decision-making regarding their care. Often at these times the individuals and their families feel very pressurised, because their loved one is ill, and struggle in dealing with the decision-making and to have their voice heard to get what they want their loved one. I can attend hospital discharge meetings and best interests meetings to advocate for the wishes of the family and the individual and ensure that their voices heard, to try and achieve the outcome that they want.
At some point in time we all die and it is a good idea to create a Will so that our wishes for our estate can be carried out after our death. A will can include a funeral clause, guardianship for our children if our children are under the age of 18 and a clause appointing the executors, who were the people who will deal with the administration work itself. The executors might or might not be beneficiaries, and it is the beneficiaries who will receive the assets of your estate, and your will makes clear who gets what.