Following on from my previous blog post ‘Head in the Sand’ which discusses the denial of death and ageing, I am actively encouraging you to think about planning for end of life in several different ways. This is one of the areas that procrastination takes a grip and prevents a lot of people from putting measures in place that can make the practical aspects of ageing and dying easier for those closest to us.
Recently I have been through the process of putting a financial lasting power of attorney (LPA) in place for a family member. To learn more about what a power of attorney is, there is a full explanation on our website. In my case the financial power of attorney had been set up with a solicitor some years previously and was kept by them, to be put in place when it was required. There is a cost to this of course, but setting up the document in advance meant that when it was required the process was relatively simple, with a signed letter of instruction from the donor. Obviously, the person or people that you choose to be your attorney/s need to be people that you trust implicitly and they must be over 18 years old.
I received a copy of the power of attorney document, which then needed to be registered at the relevant bank or building society. I discovered that financial institutions usually have an appointed power of attorney team member, and that it was best to arrange an appointment at a branch to speak to them. The registration involved them making copies of the document, and I needed to prove my identity. If the donor has lost mental capacity, then the attorney can instruct the bank to remove their ability to make any future financial transactions. In my personal circumstance, I am shadowing my family member, as they still do have capacity, therefore I can do their banking for them and help them with their financial affairs. The bank told me that I must notify them if at any point my family member looses mental capacity. When I registered the power of attorney I was given the option to set up both internet and telephone banking, so future visits to a branch office would not be necessary.
I found it interesting, that one of the staff members that I spoke to explained, very often people came in trying to help their relatives with financial matters, when they had become sick or housebound, and had no idea that such measures were needed. This on occasions resulted in them getting angry and upset and in some cases abusive. I feel proud of my relative for making plans for their decline in advance, I am now able to help them practically with their finances.