Why we all should make a Lasting Power of Attorney
- AuthorMike Downey
Whilst we do not like to think about it, the number of those living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s is on the increase. Also, owing to a more advanced health service, we are more likely to survive an illness such as a stroke or heart attack. Both of these things mean that more and more people are living longer but without the capacity, either physically or mentally, to deal with their property and financial affairs.
This sounds a depressing picture, but the important thing to remember is to be prepared. This can minimise the negative effect if this should happen to you. Whilst many of my clients realise the importance of putting in place a Will, not so many realise that a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be just as important.
There are two types of LPA, one dealing with financial matters, and the other dealing with health and care decisions. The Financial LPA will allow your Attorney(s) to step into your shoes and make financial decisions which you could have made yourself. The Health and Welfare LPA can only ever be used by your Attorney(s) for health and welfare decisions such as end of life care but only in the event that you no longer have the capacity to make these decisions for yourself. LPAs can only ever be made while you have the mental capacity to make them.
People may assume that if they lose capacity that their spouse/partner or children can automatically deal with things on their behalf. This is not the case. No one would have the authority to make decisions or sign documents on your behalf. It would then be necessary for the Court of Protection to appoint someone who would be called a Deputy. This can be a costly and lengthy procedure, and also takes control away from you to decide who should deal with such important matters for you. The delay in dealing with this could have a drastic effect on you and your family’s life until the Deputy is appointed, which could take up to nine months.
The important thing to remember is that an LPA can only be prepared whilst you have the required mental capacity.
The message to take away is not to leave matters until it is too late and to plan for the future by preparing an LPA.
Mike is a Director at JCP Solicitors and Head of Lifetime Planning in South East Wales overseeing the Wills and Probate team in our Caerphilly, Cardiff and Cowbridge offices. He deals with legal matters comprising Wills and Probate, Court of Protection and creating Lasting Powers of Attorney. He is also a Professional Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection and also acts as an Attorney under Lasting Powers of Attorney for Clients.
In 2019, Mike undertook training to become a Dementia Champion with his aim to make Caerphilly a Dementia Friendly town. A Dementia Champion is someone with excellent knowledge and skills in the care of people with dementia. They are an advocate for people with Dementia and a source of information and support for co-workers.