Lasting Power of Attorney Much Needed Due to Huge Dementia Increase
Discussing unpleasant possibilities about the future is never much fun, but sometimes straight talking is needed especially around financial matters. Sadly, the devastating condition of dementia is on the increase and in light of this it seems to make sense to talk about how families can be helped in such situations.
The latest figures by the Alzheimer’s Society state that there are an estimated 850,000 with dementia in the UK, many of them in London and the South East, and with the figure expected to top a million in the next decade many families will be facing problems with handling paperwork. Trying to sort out the affairs of someone who had been independently able to handle their own paperwork can be a nightmare. We have all heard stories of the stress and bureaucracy.
However, we at Pindoria Solicitors want to inform you about safeguards available, which will make a huge difference. It comes in the shape of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which will allow people to manage money on behalf of loved ones under what is known as a lasting power of attorney (LPA). A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you as the ‘donor’ appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or make decisions on your behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if, for example, you have an accident or an illness and can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (you ‘lack mental capacity’). You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity – the ability to make your own decisions – when you make your LPA.
There are 2 types of LPA:
Health and welfare lasting power of attorney
Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:
- your daily routine, eg washing, dressing, eating
- medical care
- moving into a care home
- life-sustaining treatment
It can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.
Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney
Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
- managing a bank or building society account
- paying bills
- collecting benefits or a pension
- selling your home
It can be used as soon as it’s registered, with your permission. You can choose to make one type or both.
This simply, is a document, which allows another person to make decisions where one person has lost mental capacity, but what has to be emphasised is they can only be set up when the person is still able to make decisions for themselves. Whilst it does mean that you will need to have at least one uncomfortable conversation with the family; it will inevitably reduce the stress and imbroglio that such circumstances often bring.
This legal and binding agreement is a vital step in safeguarding families’ futures and offers great peace of mind. It is important you or your family members receive expert advice and assistance so as to deal with this with minimum fuss. If you considering making another Will or look to carry out Inheritance Tax Planning it would be the ideal time to consider and make your lasting power of attorney.
If you want more information regarding this issue, simply give us a call on 020 8951 6959 and ask to speak to one of our private client specialists solicitors.
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