Whenever we spot a new wrinkle or grey hair, we often pause for a moment and consider how the years are rolling by. Most of us at some point will also worry about how our health might deteriorate in our later years.
In a recent study by Irwin Mitchell, 75% of respondents said they worried about getting older and 70% were specifically concerned about developing dementia. Surprisingly, despite these worries, only 5% had made plans to deal with such an eventuality.
Why you should be prepared for the future
When someone develops an illness such as dementia, or is involved in an accident that takes away their capacity to make decisions for themselves, someone else needs to make decisions for them. But nobody has the automatic right to do so. Neither your partner nor your children nor your closest friends and relatives can. This is unless you have specifically given them permission in advance in the form of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
What is an LPA?
LPAs come in two forms, one covering property and financial affairs and the other health aspects. You can complete either or both and will largely depend upon your circumstances. Validly executed Enduring Powers of Attorney remain effective for property and financial affairs purpose – they have never been effective for health aspects.
An LPA can only be made while you have the mental capacity to do so. If you lose capacity to make your own decisions and there is no LPA in place, your loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to make your decisions for you. They can apply to be appointed as your deputy, but it will be the court that makes this decision rather than you.
It costs £82 to register an LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.
On the other hand, the costs for setting up a deputy via the Court of Protection are more expensive. The application fee is £400 for each type of deputyship: health/welfare and property/financial affairs. An appeal, if required, is another £400 and if the court decides a hearing is required, that’s a further £500. In addition, there is an assessment fee of £100 for new deputies and an annual supervision fee.
No-one likes to consider what may befall them in the future. It’s a much easier job to plan for though if done in advance. The financial and emotional cost for your family to deal with it after the event can be significant. Perhaps most importantly of all, LPAs allow the individual concerned to document their wishes around what happens to them at a later date and decide who will make those decisions on their behalf.
For help preparing an LPA, please contact us.