Why More People Than Ever Are Setting Up a Power of Attorney
Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way you can ensure that in the event you lose capacity, decisions about your financial and personal welfare are being made by people you trust.
We’ll look at the benefits of setting up an LPA, along with the likely reasons that so many more people are taking this important step in planning for later life.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
It’s a document which clearly sets out who you would like to look after your affairs in the event you lose capacity (the ability to make balanced decisions). An LPA can be created to look after your property and financial affairs, or your health and welfare.
Because it grants a lot of power to the people who you name, it’s important to think carefully about who you will appoint. Because of this, you can only create an LPA if there are currently no questions about whether or not you have capacity.
The LPA itself is a legal document which declares a person (or persons) as your attorney. They will in most circumstances be a family member, but you can choose anyone. The LPA will also need to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian, a government body that oversees the registration of the Lasting Power of Attorney system in the UK.
Why are LPA application numbers rising?
The trend in the UK, like many other countries in the developed world, is towards an older population. Recent research by the Office of National Statistics shows that by 2050, one in four people in the UK will be aged 65 or over and this group is growing faster than other age groups.
These rising figures show an increasing need for later life planning. Statistics from Alzheimer’s Research UK show that one in 14 people in the UK aged 65 or over has dementia, a figure due to rise.
Dementia is now regularly discussed on television and in the media, ensuring that there is a greater awareness of the problems it can cause for both those with the condition and their families. Having an LPA in place can ease some of those burdens, so it’s natural that more and more people want to ensure they have one in place.
Two kinds of LPA?
Having two kinds of LPA to govern different aspects of your life gives you choice over who will look after your affairs if you lose capacity. The two kinds are:
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs – this lets you appoint someone to deal with all aspects of your financial welfare, including your home. You may have substantial savings in multiple places, or investments to look after, and this would all be included in the powers of a Property & Financial Affairs LPA. What an attorney cannot do, however, is make any decisions around aspects of your health and welfare.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare – this document allows your attorney to make decisions regarding your medical treatment and lifestyle. This ranges from controlling your diet to decisions as momentous as deciding whether to keep your life support turned on if you become unconscious.
Talk to a Solicitor about a Lasting Power of Attorney
If you’re interested in setting up your own Lasting Power of Attorney, the solicitors at Enable Law can help. Contact our dedicated team of mental capacity law experts.