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The importance of making a lasting power of attorney early, in an aging population

According to the World Health Organisation the number of people aged 60 years or older will rise from 900 million to 2 billion between 2015 and 2050 (moving from 12% to 22% of the total global population).

People living to the age of 100 in the UK used to be relatively low however this is changing dramatically as you can see from the below table.

Year 100+
1980 2,300
2015 15,000
2066 507,000

Source: Office for National Statistics

The importance of making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is ever more significant than it once was.

While it is great news that people are living longer, these statistics highlight the new challenges individuals will face as a result of this, particularly in relation to mental capacity and caring for elderly parents.

Giving someone you trust the ability to make important decisions on your behalf through an LPA ensures an appointed person has the necessary legal authority to handle your affairs.

The increased risk to mental capacity as individual’s grow older emphasizes why it is important to make sure you start planning and having conversations with family members sooner rather than later.

The Alzheimer’s Society recently stated that 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 suffer from dementia. If you do not have a LPA in place and you become unable to deal with your affairs yourself, then a relative or other appropriate representative would have to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed to make decisions on your behalf. This can be a costly and time-consuming process and means that you have no control over who is appointed or what decisions he or she can make.

By encouraging parents and loved ones to set out precisely what they would like to happen should they lose capacity by making the necessary preparations, you can save valuable time, cost and burden.

There are two different types of LPA.

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

This allows your Attorney to deal with your financial affairs and your property and could include paying bills or selling your property or investments. This type of LPA can also be used while you still have mental capacity to handle your financial affairs and property if needed.

Health and Welfare LPA

Unlike a property and financial affairs LPA, this can only be used once you have lost capacity to make your own decisions. Under this type of LPA, your Attorney can make decisions on your behalf about your health and welfare if you are unable to do so yourself.  For example, he or she could make decisions about your medical treatment, where you should live and your day-to-day care.  Your Attorney can even make decisions about life sustaining treatment if you specifically permit this within your LPA.

Never the less, losing the ability to manage our own affairs is not restricted to the aging population. An accident, stroke or other illness could mean you suddenly lose the ability to act for yourself or make decisions, even at a young age.

Do not leave it until it is too late.  Our team at David Allen will help you complete the necessary paperwork and register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.

For further information or to arrange an appointment please contact Trudi Dickinson on 01228 711881.

Posted: September 9th, 2016

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