How we look after older people requiring care is at the top of the national agenda at the moment, as the Government grapples with the care funding crisis.
More people than ever before need care in their old age, with dementia a growing problem. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are now 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, and this figure is sadly only set to grow.
With so many people reaching the stage where they can no longer make decisions for themselves, an increasingly useful option is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is where you appoint someone as your ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf, should you reach the stage where you can no longer do so.
The different types of LPA
There are two main types of Lasting Power of Attorney. The first is the LPA for financial decisions. This will cover things like buying and selling property, paying the mortgage, investing money and arranging repairs for your property.
There is also an LPA which covers health and care decisions. This allows your attorney to make decisions about things like where you should live and your medical care.
Is appointing one attorney enough?
Choosing a person to be your attorney can be difficult. You need to find someone who you trust to always act in your best interests. But they also need to be someone who you can rely on to deal with the responsibility and administration that comes with the role.
Generally, people will choose a loved one, like their spouse or child. However, you can also appoint a professional, like The Fry Group (although do note that we cannot act under the Health and Welfare LPA).
In fact, you can select more than one attorney – a main one, and a replacement. The replacement attorney can step in and make decisions for you if the original attorney is unable to do so. For example, you might name your partner or children as your attorney and The Fry Group as a replacement attorney. This way, should your partner or children end up in a position where they are no longer able to make decisions on your behalf, you will be safe in the knowledge that someone will still be able to continue acting for you.
I have an Enduring Power of Attorney – do I need an LPA?
Whilst it is no longer possible to complete new Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) they are still valid and can be used by your attorneys to administer your financial affairs. However, you may wish to consider completing an LPA for health and welfare. The reason for this is that your attorneys under your EPA will not have the authority to make decisions about your health aspects. However, attorneys appointed under an LPA will do.
We are seeing an increasing number of examples where health professionals, including paramedics, are requesting whether an LPA for health and welfare has been created.
Equally, for those that only have an LPA for property and financial affairs, completing an LPA for health and welfare should be considered to ensure full protection.
It’s clear dementia is a significant problem across the UK. So putting plans in place now is essential for dealing with unpredictable future eventualities. That should extend beyond an LPA and include a comprehensive Will. With a Will put in place, you guarantee that your assets are divided exactly as you wish.
If you are unsure about what you need to do and whether you should be completing an LPA, please contact us.