30 May 2024

Navigating later life: essential organisations you may encounter

By Yasmin Knock, Solicitor, Hayes + Storr.

If you’re helping a loved one who is ill or vulnerable, you may need to liaise with various organisations to assist you with their affairs.

Many organisations will require proper authority before allowing you to make any decisions. This article briefly highlights the different types of authority, and the main organisations you may need to contact.

However, you should always speak to a solicitor who will be able to provide advice tailored to your family circumstances.

Making sure you have the right authority

If you know that your loved one has a power of attorney, you will need to locate the original. This might be stored at their home, or with their solicitor.

Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian is responsible for registering powers of attorney and maintaining records of all the registered powers of attorney in England and Wales.

If your loved one made an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), then it will be up to you to register this if they lose mental capacity. Since October 1st, 2007, Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney, therefore, only EPAs made and signed before October 1st, 2007 can still be used.

If they made a Lasting Power of Attorney, then this may already be registered. You should check the position with a solicitor to ensure you are fully aware of what is required of you.

The Court of Protection

If your loved one loses mental capacity without a valid power of attorney in place, an application can be made to the Court of Protection for you to be appointed as “deputy”, to manage their affairs. This is a serious process and requires sufficient evidence and various forms. A solicitor can help make a successful application to the Court of Protection.

Acting for your loved one

If you are appointed attorney or deputy, you will need to deal with organisations such as financial institutions (banks and investment companies, for example) as well as conveyancers if property is to be sold. A financial advisor may be required to ensure that your loved one’s funds are appropriately invested in a risk-averse way to generate an income for them.

Local authority

The local authority may be involved in ensuring that your loved one is receiving suitable care, as well as establishing whether funding for your loved one’s care is available.

National Health Service

The NHS may be involved in decisions surrounding care funding, although NHS care funding is only available in limited circumstances. You may also be required to liaise with medical staff to discuss aspects of your loved one’s care.

How we can help

Acting for a loved one can feel like a daunting responsibility. Our solicitors can help you to ensure that you properly fulfil your duties as an attorney or deputy, and that your loved one is cared for in the best possible manner.

For further information, contact Yasmin Knock or the Hayes + Storr Private Client Department on 01328 863 231.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.