lasting_power_of_attorney_dementiaNobody likes to think about a loved one suffering from dementia, but failing to plan ahead could make a bad situation even worse.

One in three British people over the age of 65 will be diagnosed with some form of dementia and the numbers are rising.

As well as drawing up a will, you should consider setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), which empowers your loved ones to make vital decisions on your behalf if you can no longer do so for yourself.

You’ve got the power

Too many Britons are failing to prepare for the threat posed by dementia. Two thirds have not spoken to family members about how they might wish their finances and assets to be managed if they could no longer make their own decisions.

Only 13 per cent of over 50s have set up an LPA, according to new research from solicitors Irwin Mitchell.

Paula Myers, an expert on wills and trusts at the firm, says that without a will and LPA families could become embroiled in legal battles over wills and estates.

“Our research paints a worrying picture about the lack of planning, which could cause headaches for families. They may dispute with friends as to who is best placed to make the decisions. Setting up an LPA takes away that worry.”

You cannot set up an LPA after mental capacity has been lost.

Instead, your family would have to apply to the Court of Protection, or the Sheriff Court in Scotland, for a deputyship order to give them control over your affairs.

This is costly, time-consuming and complicated.

Legal advice

There are two types of LPA. One covers money and property, allowing the attorney to manage your financial affairs, such as selling the home, claiming benefits, dealing with tax affairs, paying bills and so on.

The other covers health and welfare, allowing the attorney to decide on medical matters such as where you should live, what care and treatment you need, and personal correspondence.

In practice, many people set up both types of attorney, to cover all eventualities.

Jonathan Smithers, president of the Law Society, says: “Once you have an idea of what you or your relatives want to do, consider talking to a professional.”

There is a £110 application fee to register an LPA, although this may be reduced for those claiming benefits. And our fees for preparing the documents start at just £249.

For more information about LPA’s click here or call us on 01773 713366.