We all know that we should write a Will, but too few of us know we should also consider something called Lasting Power of Attorney.
Sadly, it is estimated that by 2025 more than a million people in the UK will have some form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Society.
One in five people over 85 already live with it. Handling your financial affairs can become impossible which is why we recommend everyone plans ahead to ease the potential burden on relatives.
A Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people, known as attorneys, to make certain decisions on your behalf. There are two types of LPA, one for property and financial affairs and another covering personal health and welfare.
These relate to financial matters. This type of LPA can be used as soon as it is registered by your Attorneys on your instructions. This ensures that your Attorneys can manage your finances if you were hospitalised but had full capacity. Alternatively, it is possible to restrict the LPA so it can only be used if you become mentally incapable.
These relate to decisions about health, personal welfare and where you live. This could include giving or refusing consent to medical treatment on your behalf. This type of LPA can only be used if you are mentally incapable of making such decisions.
Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Power of Attorney (EPAs) on October 1, 2007. EPAs that were drawn up and signed before this date are still valid. EPAs only cover property and financial affairs, not health and welfare.
If you have an EPA we will review this for you. If you did wish to amend the power we can have this replaced with an LPA, so long as you have the mental capacity to do so.
Be careful if you are thinking of going down the Probate DIY route. It is a complicated topic that can be time consuming and confusing and not without risk.
Lasting Powers of Attorney is not an American mini-series, but it is a very useful legal document that people really ought to consider having in place alongside their Will.
There is good news if you registered a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2017, as you could be entitled to a refund of up to £54.