If you were in a coma, who would you want making decisions about your care – or even whether to let you live or die? Your other half, or a complete stranger?

If you suffered a head injury, sudden stroke or mental illness, could your family access vital funds to pay for day to day bills or even vital medical care?

Many of us have put plans in place for what will happen if our spouse or partner dies. But what if they don’t die, but are mentally incapacitated?

When a loved one is rendered suddenly and unexpectedly unable to make decisions due to illness or injury, those closest to them can find joint bank accounts unexpectedly frozen, assets inaccessible and a lengthy and expensive legal process becomes necessary to continue to pay the bills while caring for their ill partner or family member.

The Court of Protection

Without a Lasting Power of Attorney (sometimes known as a ‘Living Will’) in place, the Court of Protection will be appointed to represent what they believe are your best interests; your loved ones will have to apply to the Court to decide even the simplest of matters.

While the Court of Protection is necessary to protect the sick and vulnerable from relatives who may not have their best interests at heart, it is also a massively overstretched institution and families who are at its mercy may have to wait months for decisions regarding their loved ones’ medical care or finances.

All this while having to wade through legalese and arcane regulations, spending money on escalating fees.

Protecting your wishes

The internet is awash with stories of ordinary people who have suffered from the lack of a Lasting Power of Attorney, from the woman who had to apply to the court for access to money to pay the bills, after her husband was hit by a car; to the case of ‘M’, whose family argued for her right to die but lost because although ‘M’ had expressed a wish to die in such a situation, she had made no formal provision.

If you’d like to book a free consultation with one of our legal experts, book online or call 01342 477 102 and quote ‘LPA blog’.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.