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Help - what can I do to help myself or a loved one?

I recently watched Channel 4’s drama “Help” staring Jodie Comer as key worker at Bright Sky Homes, a fictional Liverpool care home, and Stephen Graham as one of the residents, set during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK.

It seems to me to perhaps be too soon to be settling down of a Thursday evening to watch a drama about events so fresh in all of our minds, but, this one is essential viewing. It was heart-warming, heart-breaking and spectacular all within the space of two hours.

For all of us, in different ways, 2020 was really tough, but the chaos and desperation seen in the care home setting in the last eighteen months is brought in to sharp focus in this drama. I won’t spoil the plot for you, but despite the dramatic plot twist, I did have to remind myself that I was watching a drama, not a documentary.  

Quite the rollercoaster of emotions after an already emotional rollercoaster of a year, but it did get me thinking about the side of my job that can go some way to ‘helping’.

Whilst watching, my solicitor mind was thinking over the practicalities of caring for someone who requires an extent of care support, either in the care home setting, or at home.

As a Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitor, I often meet people either living in care homes, people whose loved ones are living in care homes or people who need support at home. Both sides of the glass window are tough to see, and even tougher to live with, both for the person requiring care and the person organising or providing that care. I am often so humbled by the small part I can play in a person’s journey in to the care setting, by being able to organise the most crucial part of the paperwork puzzle; the Lasting Powers of Attorney or Deputy Order.

My colleague Laura Stuart has previous written brilliantly inciteful blogs on what these documents are used for and how important they are, so please take a look at them here - https://www.brethertons.co.uk/site/blog/what-are-the-benefits-of-a-lasting-power-of-attorney and https://www.brethertons.co.uk/site/blog/dementia-action-week-and-lasting-powers-of-attorney

For those of us that still have the cognitive ability to make our own choices, setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is essential. What we often think is that this type of thing can wait until we are old. Unfortunately, however, this is one of the major misconceptions about LPAs. They should be drawn up at a time when those circumstances we might face when we are old are not even vaguely on the horizon yet, because, as they say “you never know” what might happen. An impairment of our cognitive abilities could occur at any stage in our lives.

For a person who has not set up LPAs but no longer has the ability to choose who they would like to act on their behalf, a Deputy Order would be required. This is a more time consuming and costly process than the LPA process, so something definitely worth bearing in mind when assessing your own options.

For those of us already caring for a loved one who has lost the ability to make their own choices, applying for a Deputy Order is essential, as it will provide you with the legal status you need in order to manage your loved ones’ affairs.

Here at Brethertons, we can offer you support and guidance through the LPA and Deputy Order process. It is never too early to get us on board and seek great legal advice, especially now that we now seem to be turning a corner, with many of last year’s lockdown rules being relaxed, so getting out and about again, or inviting people in to our homes, is much easier for many people.

If you would like to discuss your current circumstances or plan for the future, please contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate team on 01788 557722 or email sarahhorton@brethertons.co.uk