Recent research from the University College, London predicts that 1.2 million people in England and Wales will have dementia by 2040, and this makes for sobering reading for anyone contemplating their old age. However, two simple legal documents, known as a Lasting Power of Attorney, can help everyone to plan for their future and give peace of mind for themselves and their loved ones.
“There are many things that can’t be controlled in our lives, but we can put plans in place to help us prepare for certain eventualities,” says Ann Farnill, Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate at Tallents Solicitors.
“As the ‘donor’, you can decide to make either or both LPAs, knowing that key decisions will be made on your behalf if you have lost mental capacity.”
So, what are the key differences between the LPAs?
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
You choose one person, or more, to make welfare and medical treatment decisions on your behalf about things like:
- Routine day-to-day tasks (e.g. what to wear and eat)
- Medical care and life-sustaining treatment
- Moving into a care home
The key distinction with this LPA is that it can only be used when it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and you lose mental capacity, or the ability to make or communicate your own decisions.
Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney
This replaced Enduring Power of Attorneys (EPAs) from October 2007. An existing EPA is still valid, but you cannot make a new one; instead you must now make a Property and Financial Affairs LPA.
You choose one person, or more, to make decisions about your property or money, such as:
- Paying bills
- Collecting your benefits
- Selling or letting your home
- Looking after your investments
Once registered with the OPG, this LPA can be used while you retain mental capacity and authorise its use, but it can also be used should you later lose your mental capacity.
“You don’t have to be in your later life to make a LPA. We never know what is around the corner so it is sensible for anyone with commitments: husbands and wives, children, dependent relatives, or a business, to consider making at least one type of Power of Attorney.
“We are also recommending that children have this conversation with elderly parents to ensure that they will be able to look after them in the event of diminished capacity. We know that this isn’t an easy conversation to have with elderly parents but it’s a sensible one as the alternative expensive and lengthy process of applying to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy really doesn’t bear thinking about.
“At Tallents, we are here to guide you through the process, ensuring both your understanding at every point and that the LPA is completed with your best interests at heart. Our experienced staff at Tallents can help you protect your family every step of the way.”