Ensure you’re prepared for the future with an LPA

With around 850,000 people in the UK currently suffering from dementia – a figure that is predicted to rise to over a million by 2025 – it is probable that many of those will not have provision in place for such time when they may lose mental capacity.

While having dementia is a scenario that few want to think about, the shocking statistics which show that one person will develop dementia in the UK every three minutes make it an issue which cannot be ignored. As no-one can ever know what the future will hold, it is wise to be prepared, protecting yourself and your family in the process.

It is important to ensure that, should you ever develop dementia or any associated disease like Alzheimer’s, your affairs are in order and you have trusted people in place to make decisions on your behalf should you ever be unable to do so yourself.

The most common means of doing this is through making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), of which there are two forms – one for property and financial affairs, and the other for health and welfare. These can be made together or separately.

By making an LPA, you can nominate one or more attorneys – trusted friends or relatives, or else a professional advisor – who will be legally entitled to make decisions on your behalf with regard to your financial affairs or your medical care, so you can be safe in the knowledge this will always be taken care of.

However, if you did lose mental capacity and did not have proper provision in place, an application will have to be made to the Court of Protection. This can be a time-taking and expensive process – the application can often take up to six months, during which time finances are frozen, and someone else will need to pay for the likes of care costs. Furthermore, you will have no control over who is appointed to make such personal decisions on your behalf – often the person given the role of deputy by a Court is not who you would choose, had you been given the option.

By making an LPA, you can have the peace of mind that, whatever happens, your affairs will be taken care of and someone you trust implicitly will be able to act on your behalf.

Professional advice should always be sought when making an LPA, and a specialist private client advisor will be able to guide you through the process.

Sophie Robinson is a private client practitioner at law firm Sintons. To speak to her about this or any other matter, contact Sophie on 0191 226 7812 or sophie.robinson@sintons.co.uk.

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