Food for thought.

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This is more on a serious note, but that said, Martin Lewis, the television presenter and money saving expert was giving this advice to young people at a wedding show that they should consider setting up a ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’.

We are all focusing on and doing well with our attempts in recovery, yet we will all admit stroke hit us hard and was a real shock. Completely out of the blue, in the blink of an eye even, our lives turned upside down and nothing made any sense any longer.

I don’t think I’m alone in this, when I say I had some difficulties regarding finances especially bank accounts. I needed to access funds from my account, pay money in and ensure regular commitments were met, yet, as I was the only account holder I hit all sorts of difficulties. This was because I was the only one able to sign or communicate with the banks/building societies, because of my stroke, all these things were impossible.

It was simple in pre stroke days, phone and talk to the bank, go in and sign papers etc, you get the picture. Obviously I can’t  carry out any of their requests now, I don’t think I need to explain more as I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted here.

There’s no specific age when you should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), young people can lose capacity through accidents. If someone has difficulties that mean they can’t make decisions anymore, they will need help managing their finances. LPA is a legal document where someone (while they still have mental capacity) nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs if they lost capacity.

There are two types of LPA: one for finance and property and another for health and welfare.

Don’t think you suddenly give up control. You can choose whether it can be used either before, or only when, you lose mental capacity.

Hopefully now I like to think I won’t be in this situation again but for peace of mind and actually as a sensible action I feel a good and sensible way forward is to set up a LPA, possibly in my son, Henry’s name as he is now 20. What this means is I continue to manage my finances until such a time I am no longer able, only then does this kick in.

The LPA is a powerful legal document, so obviously, like everything else has a cost involved. The first decision is whether or not to use a solicitor if you’re unsure about the process, the family does not get on or there are complex assets, such as businesses or overseas property. There is a DIY route which will save £600-ish in legal fees and cost only £110 to have it registered, the Government has made the process easier than it used to be.

If you chose the DIY route to make your LPA, apply online and you can download forms or request them by post by going to https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/make-lasting-power. When you’ve made your lasting power of attorney (LPA), you need to register it with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

Going back to the advice from Martin Lewis and someone he interviewed on his program, it is a great deal cheaper, far less stressful and far less upsetting than not having such a thing in place.

Think of it as an insurance policy, we sort it, peace of mind then continue with the recovery and enjoying our second chance, as effectively we’ve won the lottery of life, we’ve come this far and are still improving. Yes we have to work hard but remember to look back and view how far you have come.

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