It is an unfortunate reality that dementia is on the rise with cases set to triple worldwide by 2050, according to a new study by The Lancet public health journal.
In the UK alone, 209,600 people will develop dementia this year, which equates to one person every three minutes.
That’s why it’s now more important than ever to plan ahead while you are fit and well to protect your finances, and make things easier for your loved ones, by putting in place a professionally made and robust Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA, if drawn up properly by a specialist solicitor, is a positive and effective tool which ensures your wishes are respected should you ever lose mental capacity and are unable to manage your own affairs.
For an LPA to be valid, the person making it – known as the donor – must fully understand the implications of the arrangement at the time. It’s called having mental capacity and is why it’s so vital to think ahead.
In making a Lasting Power of Attorney you are not signing away your rights to make decisions. The documents, like an insurance policy, are instead there for peace of mind in case they are ever needed in the future.
Lasting Powers of Attorney enable you to choose the person (or people) you want to manage your finances, pay bills and make medical decisions (including where you live) in case you are not be able to make those decisions in the future.
What happens if I get dementia and don’t have an LPA in place?
Unfortunately, it’s not the case that friends and family can simply take over – not having an LPA can have far reaching implications.
In these circumstances, the Court of Protection will need to be involved in deciding who acts for you – this could be someone you wouldn’t have chosen yourself.
This court case is not only costly and stressful but can also take a long time with a 35% increase in such applications over the last six months causing a substantial backlog and significant delays to the deputyship process.
Why should I use a solicitor for my LPA?
Lasting Powers of Attorney are very powerful documents and should not be entered into lightly.
Choosing a quick online version may seem like the cheap and easy option but for most people, seeking professional legal advice is the best way of ensuring than an LPA is effective, legally robust and safe.
It also safeguards against an LPA being drawn up with errors that turn out later to be expensive, time consuming and extremely stressful to put right.
Get in touch
Wards Solicitors’ specialist Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity lawyers are trained to give you highly confidential, bespoke advice about the options available.
We can also help if you’d like to consider appointing a professional, such as a solicitor, as your attorney. They can act as a neutral third party and make unbiased decisions that are in your best interests. This usually involves a cost.
We provide a free initial meeting, which is always socially distanced, and can be via video or telephone call if you prefer.
For more information, we also have a series of legal guides to help you: