We care passionately about every customer we help
Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
We are celebrating the contribution that carers make to supporting our loved ones this week.
When thinking of carers many people think of adult children looking after elderly parents, but the reality is that carers come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, many people are carers for their friends, spouses, children or siblings.
It is natural for carers to worry about what would happen with their loved one’s care if anything should happen to them. Fortunately there are a number of things that can be done to ensure that their loved one is protected should something happen to their carer.
Having a care plan in place ensures that your loved one’s (who I will call “P”) needs are identified and details exactly what care should be provided. Often this will be put together by the local authority or, if P is in residential care, by the home. In either situation, it should be done in collaboration with P and their carer. This ensures that P is getting the right care and provides details to anyone else who may need to deal with P’s care. Care plans should be updated regularly to ensure that P is still receiving the right care for them and that this is documented.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
If P has the capacity to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney then they could look at doing this. Lasting Powers of Attorney allow P to decide who should deal with their property and finances or health and welfare (or both) in the event that they lose capacity. The property and finances document also allows the nominated person, known as an Attorney, to deal with P’s finances whilst they still have capacity if P consents to this. P can appoint more than one Attorney so that if something happens to their carer, someone else is able to help P.
Be careful – if P pays you to care for them, this may no longer be possible if they appoint you as their Attorney. You may wish to speak to a solicitor if you are in this situation.
Sometimes it would be preferable for a person not to receive gifts or money outright from a Will, for example if they are unable to manage large sums of money or if they may go into residential care at some point. There are different ways of constructing a Will to ensure that P is provided for whilst protecting their entitlement. This is normally done by using one of a variety of trust structures, which is not as complex as it sounds! A trust structure allows someone else, called a trustee, to manage the monies on P’s behalf and ensure that P is provided for.
Most importantly, ensure that you are speaking to P about their thoughts and wishes. If you go into hospital for a period of time, how would they want their care to work? Would they want to go to a care home for a short period, or have a carer come in to their home to help them? It is important to know what they want and look at the best way of getting this in place, should something unexpected happen.
Sophie Forsyth is a solicitor in the Wills, Trusts and Probate team at Brethertons, dealing with Lasting Powers of Attorney and Wills, and assisting vulnerable people and those without capacity. For more information regarding Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney, visit our webpage at https://www.brethertons.co.uk/site/individuals/wills-trust-probate-solicitors/ or call us on 01295 661556.