Lasting Powers of Attorney
Dementia affects one in five people and costs the economy over £23 billion each year according to Saga Homecare. It is a worrying reality for many adults, but one way to help ease the burden is to arrange Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
But it is not just the threat of dementia that should make you think about an LPA; a freak accident or illness could strike at any time, rendering you incapable of making decisions for yourself. It can help to know that people you trust will able to make decisions about your finances and medical treatment if you are no longer able to do so.
An LPA is a legal document that gives a trusted friend, relative or professional legal authority to make decisions about your finances and healthcare if you are not capable of doing so. You can – and perhaps should – create a separate LPA document to appoint an attorney to manage your business assets.
The prospect of losing physical or mental capacity (the ability to independently manage your own affairs) is often an unspeakable subject and one put to one side. Unfortunately, however, once capacity is lost, even partially, it may be too late to make suitable arrangements.
Without an LPA in place, a relative or friend wishing to act on your behalf would need to apply to the Court of Protection for deputyship. It is a process that can take months, involves complex paperwork and which can cost several thousand pounds. Conversely, an LPA is a very efficient, inexpensive document.
If you are mentally incapacitated in the future and unable to make your own decisions, through accident or illness, your chosen attorney can then begin to act on your behalf. However, the document must be arranged and the attorney (or attorneys if you choose more than one) appointed while you are still of sound mind.
It is very important that the younger generation do not ignore LPAs. Far too many young people suffer strokes, debilitating mental illnesses or even serious accidents and without an LPA in place, the young family can be thrown into turmoil.