As the population continues to grow and people continue to live longer we are seeing more people live into their 90’s, and cases of Alzheimer’s, dementia and strokes are also increasing. In 2014 the Alzheimer’s Society found during a study that 1 in 6 people over 80 have dementia. When you talk to friends and colleagues you find most have a family member or friend with dementia. So why aren’t more of us making Lasting Powers of Attorney?
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which allows you to appoint another person to act on your behalf in relation to either your property and financial affairs or your health and welfare.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs allows a person, nominated by you, to manage your finances, including paying your utility bills, popping to the bank and helping you with your shopping. If required they can also sell your home and organise the payment of your care home fees. This document can be used both whilst you have capacity and if you lose capacity in the future.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare allows for a person to make decisions as to the medical treatment and care you receive, and allows them to be involved in deciding whether you should go into care. This Power can only be used if you lack mental capacity.
Is the process complicated?
No. In brief there are two steps: the preparation of the document and the registration process.
The preparation of a Lasting Power of Attorney can be completed within a couple of weeks. The Court has a procedure which must be followed but we will guide you through the process. Once you, a Certificate Provider and the attorneys have signed the document the Lasting Power of Attorney is valid; but it can’t be used until it is “registered”.
The registration process takes a little longer and therefore this is one of the reasons we recommend preparing and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney early on.
But, I am not old yet?
A person can lose mental capacity for many reasons, and sadly we have seen this through general medical illnesses, personal injuries, accidents at work, and road traffic accidents. None of us know what the future will hold.
It is also beneficial if you have a mental health illness – even if you feel your illness is under control, should you have a time when you feel under pressure your family could assist with the use of a Lasting Power of Attorney, even if only for those temporary occasions. They could help you with your utility providers and the payment of your mortgage, with the use of your money, until you are back on your feet again.
But I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If the Lasting Power of Attorney is not needed it can be stored until it is required. The process is a lot more complex if you lose capacity before making a Lasting Power of Attorney and will involve seeking a Court Order to appoint someone as your ‘Deputy’ – which will involve more costs and can take anywhere between 6 and 12 months!
Advice about Lasting Powers of Attorney
For more advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact a member of our Wills, Trusts and Probate department at your local office using the telephone numbers below.