Blue Monday ordinarily falls on the third Monday of January, when the bright lights of Christmas are fading away and many of us have returned to work. The weather is far from glorious, and the cold is sneaking in. This post-festive period can affect us all differently but particularly those who live on their own.

You may have noticed changes in your loved ones over Christmas, particularly with older friends and relatives, and you may have had conversations about how you can help out a little more. They might be finding it hard to go shopping or speak to companies on the phone. This can be particularly difficult in the winter months, when people are more likely to have issues with their heating, and less daylight time to get out of the house. You may have tried to call a utility provider on their behalf and have been met with the words 'I can't speak to you'.

Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney allows an individual to appoint another person to legally carry out tasks for them when they may not be able to do them themselves. This might include going down to the bank or speaking to a utility provider on the phone about their account.

These can be tasks that the person who is making the Lasting Power of Attorney (the donor) has the mental capacity to do but would appreciate some help with. While the donor still has capacity to manage their own affairs, an attorney should seek their consent before using the Lasting Power of Attorney. Even when capacity is lost, the attorney should only act in line with the Donor's wishes.

It is important to check on your loved ones, at this time of year especially; but it is also important to feel that you are able to support them. If you haven't already, talking about Lasting Powers of Attorney is important. You may find that it provides peace of mind for both of you.

Granting somebody the authority to make decisions regarding your finances is a big decision, so you should consider carefully who you would like to appoint as an Attorney. Please note that we will need to speak with the donor privately.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.