For those in the village that know me and my family will be aware that it hasn’t been the easiest couple of months for us and you may have noticed that I haven’t written an article for a couple of months. However, we are very fortunate to be on the road to recovery now and have had such great support from Shalbourne people.
It did however focus the mind on such things as Lasting Powers of Attorney and even, dare I say, Wills. Luckily we did not need to dig these out of the Marlborough Law document safe but it did cross my mind whether or not I would need either of them.
The need for an up to date Will is self explanatory but many people forget about LPA’s and the great job they do.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a very useful document. By having one you can appoint a person or people you trust to make decisions for you about your welfare and finances should you lose your capacity to make those decisions yourself. Losing capacity can be caused by many things such as a car crash, dementia, accident or illness.
An LPA can be set up for many things. If you lose capacity to manage your affairs, someone will need legal authority to pay your outgoings, manage your bank accounts, look after your house or possibly sell it, and consider your welfare needs. These are often thought to be legal rights of your family anyway, but it is important to realise that they are NOT. In the absence of an LPA, when someone loses their capacity to manage themselves and you are trying to look after them, you will have to make an application to the Court of Protection to gain these rights by being appointed a deputy. This is an expensive exercise and often, more importantly can take around half a year. This causes great distress for all involved. If you become a deputy there are many years ahead of reporting and compliance to deal with as well as the day to day looking after of your loved one.
Simply put, it is best to have an LPA drawn up and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to avoid needless expense and hardship. You can do it yourself on the internet however it is advised by the OPG to have them professionally drafted as “Complicated or badly worded instructions or preferences can make an LPA unworkable and will be rejected by the OPG”.
On a completely different note, I would like to remind readers, especially with the good weather and the increase of BBQ’s and evening drinks parties, that it is an offence to be drunk in charge of a horse or a bike.
If you have had a drink, then there is a good chance that you will be committing a criminal offence by riding your bike. The charge would be for ‘cycling under the influence of drink’, and you would be guilty of this offence if you were unfit to ride through drink – that is to say, under the influence of drink to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle. You can commit this offence when cycling on footpaths, as well as on roads.
And furthermore under the Licensing Act 1872, it is illegal to be “drunk while in charge on any highway or other public place of any carriage, horse, cattle”.
So Shalbourne readers please leave the horse, the bike and the car at home this summer and enjoy the weather, cocktail parties and BBQ’s without breaking the law.
Until next month Stay Safe & Stay Legal.