It's great that we are all living longer, but this brings with it new problems. One of the main ones is a steady increase in dementia. Every three minutes a person in the UK develops dementia, and when caused by degenerative disease or trauma it is practically irreversible. But losing the capacity to make decisions for yourself can happen at any time, it isn't something that only occurs when you've reached a ripe old age. If something happens to you and you do not already have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, your loved ones will need to apply through a court to be granted the right to make decisions on your behalf, even if it is to pay for your own care. This is often a long and costly process as it involves the Court of Protection appointing a Court Deputy to deal with your affairs. A common misassumption made by people is their spouse automatically has authority to make decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so, but this is simply not the case.
What is the solution?
In order for anyone to make decisions on your behalf you need to appoint them using a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). The person you appoint is called the 'attorney' and you are the 'donor'. This person can be a spouse, partner, trusted friend or relative. You can appoint more than one attorney if you wish. This can be helpful to avoid abuse of responsibility or simply to ensure that if anything happens to one attorney someone else is available. There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA); a Property & Financial Affairs LPA and a Health & Welfare LPA. As the titles suggest, the former is someone you appoint to look after your property and financial affairs such as accessing your bank account to pay bills and meet other financial obligations. The latter is someone you appoint to make decisions on your behalf regards your safekeeping and wellbeing, such as medical treatment, care and your ongoing health needs including where you live.
How can we help?
Considering the peace of mind it brings, drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney is a relatively straightforward process, although there are a number of things to consider and it is vital to understand what the forms mean. With our experience of drawing up LPAs, we can advise you how to complete the paperwork and what to look out for in order to avoid delays or problems later on. If you'd prefer not to visit our offices in Norwich, we will be happy to visit your home, workplace or care facility to complete the process with minimal delay. We also check everything and undertake the registration of the necessary forms with the Office of the Public Guardian on your behalf.