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  • MDW Solicitors

The Importance of Wills and LPAs in Protecting Family Bonds

The heart-wrenching story of Carolyn Stephens and her father, Vincent, serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of organizing wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). In 2012, Carolyn bid farewell to her father, not knowing that it marked the beginning of a painful journey where she would be estranged from him for almost four years. Vincent's changing circumstances, influenced by a new relationship and health issues, emphasize the need for legal preparations that safeguard individuals and their families.


Vincent's story took a drastic turn when he met Iris, a woman he befriended on a holiday in Cyprus. Carolyn's concerns grew as Vincent sold his house to be closer to Iris, and she suspected that their relationship was isolating him from his family and friends. Moreover, Vincent's health started deteriorating, with signs of potential dementia, raising alarms for Carolyn.

 

Vincent's situation worsened when Iris gained power of attorney over his affairs. While granting power of attorney requires mental capacity and a lack of coercion, the system is susceptible to abuse. Dr. James Warner highlights the challenge of assessing mental capacity, and the potential for exploitation is evident when Iris complained to the police, leading to a severed relationship between Carolyn and her father.


Carolyn's determined search for her father over several years underscores the difficulties faced by families in such situations. Iris's death led Carolyn to discover Vincent's whereabouts, hidden away in a care home. The lack of communication and information during this period highlights the need for legal provisions that empower families to stay connected and informed about their loved ones.


Vincent's story emphasizes the need for better legal protections for vulnerable older individuals. Carolyn believes that had her father planned for the future, including an early diagnosis of dementia and a power of attorney in her favour, it would have been harder for him to be isolated. Concerns about potential vulnerabilities in the legal system, as seen in the new Powers of Attorney Act, further emphasize the necessity for robust legal frameworks that protect the elderly.


The tragic tale of Vincent and Carolyn Stephens serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of family bonds, especially in the face of changing circumstances and potential exploitation. Organizing wills and LPAs can play a crucial role in preserving family relationships, ensuring that the wishes and well-being of individuals are protected. As society grapples with evolving legal frameworks, it becomes imperative to prioritize the rights and protections of vulnerable older individuals, allowing families to navigate challenges and stay connected through difficult times.



If you require advice in relation to lasting powers of attorney or drafting a will, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Call us now on 01752 299 466 or email us directly at debrawilliamson@mdwsolicitors.com




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