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Both Coronation Street and Emmerdale are currently running storylines highlighting the emotional issues friends and family go through when someone suffers from Alzheimer’s or a mental illness.

Coronation Street has recently focused on a husband trying to look after his wife who had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and the difficulties he faced in her general day to day care, finding somewhere for her to live and the ability to fund that care.

Emmerdale have focused on mental health issues and issues surrounding memory loss and personality changes.

One thing neither soap has highlighted are the legal problems these illnesses can cause.  If you are ever faced with the emotional challenges Alzheimer’s and mental illness brings one thing you don’t want to have to worry about is having to see a solicitor to ensure the correct legal documents are in place.

If someone is unable to make decisions about their health and welfare or is unable to manage their own finances due to lack of understanding it is important that somebody else has the correct authority to make these decisions for them.  This can be done by the person in question, while they still have the understanding to do so, making Lasting Power of Attorney documents.

Lasting Power of Attorney documents stipulate how your affairs should be managed if you require help with the same.  A separate document can also stipulate who you want to make decisions about your health and welfare, which can include consenting or refusing life sustaining treatment, should you be unable to make those decisions yourself.   It is important to be aware that no-body has this authority unless they are legally appointed.

While a person is still able they select a person (or people) to be their Attorney and our team at Gorvins can help people decide who the best person is to act in this role and can discuss any guidance and conditions the person wants to attach to the appointment.  The Attorney can be a family member or friend and we also act in a professional capacity for people in this role when they do not feel it is appropriate to appoint friends and family.

Sometimes, as in Coronation Street and Emmerdale, the person who is ill doesn’t have the level of understanding to make Lasting Power of Attorney documents.  If this is the case an application can be made to the Court of Protection for a Court Order to be issued to appoint someone as that persons ‘Deputy’.  This would enable the Deputy to manage their property and financial affairs.  This can be a very lengthy and costly process and one that should be avoided where possible by planning ahead and preparing Lasting Power of Attorney documents.

At Gorvins if the situation is complicated or there is no-one to act we can act as a Professional Deputy.   Gorvins are recognised as experts in this field and Moira Percival, a consultant with the team, is one of just 60 professional Court of Protection Deputies in England and Wales on the Court Approved Panel.