Lasting Powers of Attorney, for wealth and health
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are over 850,000 people with Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common type of dementia in the UK, and they expect numbers to rise to over one million by 2025 and two million by 2051.
With 225,000 people predicted to develop dementia this year, it is important that families understand the legal challenges that can arise for their loved one and for them.
The main symptoms of dementia include memory loss and difficulty communicating, and many people with dementia will eventually reach a point where they can no longer make informed decisions for themselves. They may also need ongoing medical supervision and treatment.
It is better to plan ahead to ensure your family or a trusted individual has the legal power to act on your behalf in case this or any other situation arises where you would not be able to make an informed decision for yourself.
A Lasting Power of Attorney gives another person the legal authority to make decisions for you in the eventuality that you cannot make them for yourself.
There are however two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one which covers property and financial affairs and another one that looks after your health and welfare needs. You can make one or both if you are aged 18 and have mental capacity. You can choose to appoint the same person for both, or you can have two different attorneys, but they would need to be able to work together, to ensure your best interests are looked after.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for your financial affairs will enable the person to access your bank accounts to pay bills or collect your benefits or pension and manage any matters relating to your property, selling your property or managing your investments.
*A health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney will allow the person to decide on a number of areas such as your daily routine of washing, dressing and eating, where you live, and in decision making in relation to all medical treatment including life-sustaining treatment.
Anyone considering a Lasting Power of Attorney should make it before it becomes too late and it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, which can take up to ten weeks.
Degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s can cause a lot of distress, so it is important that you ensure the power to make decisions is not taken out of your or your loved one’s hands, to help you to manage your future affairs. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney now guarantees that the person you trust and want to make decisions for you, will be able to do so in the future.