The Alzheimer’s Society has estimated that by the end of this year, there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. By 2025, it will rise to 1m people, with only 44% of those suffering actually receiving a diagnosis.
In light of these facts and figures, we’ve decided to shine a light on the issue of making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
What is an Lasting Power of Attorney?
An Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal tool that allows you to hand over all of your important legal decisions to someone else – a family member, a spouse or someone else. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney – one which makes property and financial decisions, and one which makes decisions on health and welfare. It is possible to appoint one person to fulfil both of these roles, or you can choose two different people for the two different aspects of your life. For example, if your son is an accountant, you may be more willing to place your finances in their hands – or if your friend has been a nurse or carer, they are better placed to make decisions on welfare and health.
Who can make an Lasting Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 can make an Lasting Power of Attorney – as long as they have the mental capacity to make the decision.
Who can be an attorney?
You can choose anyone you like to be your attorney – again, as long as they’re over the age of 18. If you’re choosing a property and affairs Lasting Power of Attorney, they also cannot have been declared bankrupt at any point in their life. Choosing an Lasting Power of Attorney is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Many people choose to bestow the position on relatives or friends who know them and their lifestyle already – some prefer to leave it in the hands of accountants or solicitors, who can make appropriate decisions for them legally.
What are the benefits of choosing an Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are a multitude of positive reasons why those at risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s or other diseases which reduce mental capacity should consider making an Lasting Power of Attorney. First of all, it prevents important decisions about your life, care and finances from falling into the wrong hands. It’s very reassuring for many older people to know that someone they know and trust is making their decisions for them. It’s also more cost-effective to appoint an Lasting Power of Attorney while you still have mental capacity – family and friends trying to step into this role at a later date.
What happens if I don’t make an Lasting Power of Attorney?
If at some point in the future, you lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions, no one else will have the legal power to step in and act on your behalf. This can cause problems with things like paying bills and making choices about future care very difficult, and can mean your future is totally unpredictable, rather than secure and in the hands of a loved one. Your family will have to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy, this process is time consuming and very expensive
How can I make an Lasting Power of Attorney?
We would always recommend you seek professional legal advice before making a Lasting Power of Attorney. Once the Lasting Power of Attorney is drafted you will need to get it signed by someone (a doctor, solicitor or other professional) who can verify that you have the appropriate mental capacity to make an Lasting Power of Attorney. Then you’ll need to send it to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). There’s a fee for registering each Lasting Power of Attorney, which you may be exempt from if you can’t afford it – the OPG will be able to offer advice based on your circumstances.Request a Callback
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