Considering what will happen if you or your partner becomes unable to make decisions for themselves due to old-age memory issues or dementia can be an uncomfortable thought:
At breakfast this morning, a woman said to her husband: “My memory is getting really poor, I went upstairs yesterday to get something and by the time I got to the top of the stairs I had forgotten what I was going for.”
The husband said: “How bad is your memory?”
She responded: “Sorry, what were we talking about?”
Old jokes can raise a smile, but early signs of a loss of memory are an uncomfortable reminder of the ageing process and certainly no joke. Some of us will inevitably get dementia or another debilitating condition that could result in the loss of mental capacity.
Potentially you can find yourself in a position where you cannot pay for services or make decisions, without lawyers and something called the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) being involved. It is an expensive and long-winded process. That is, unless you have written a legal document called a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in advance of your loss of mental capacity.
The Citizens Advice Bureau website says:
“You should make an LPA if you have been diagnosed with, or think you might develop, an illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself at some time in the future.
The kinds of illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself include:
- mental health problems
- brain injury
- alcohol or drug misuse
- the side-effects of medical treatment
- any other illness or disability.
You must make an LPA whilst you are still capable of making decisions for yourself. This is called having mental capacity.”
It is hoped that the reduction from 1 April 2017 in registration fees to £82 per document from £110 will encourage more people to get their affairs in order.
Our Estates team are experts in writing Lasting Powers of Attorney and will happily talk you through the process and any pitfalls. Whilst no one wants to think about the potential of problems in later life, writing an LPA could save you and your family considerable cost and anxiety.
Call Stephen Wright on 01903 231545 for a no obligation discussion about these issues.