New dementia statistics – a reminder of the importance of making an LPA
With a new report revealing the huge gulf between the number of elderly people now suffering from dementia and those who have made provision for such an eventuality, again we are reminded about why it is so crucial to plan ahead
Shocking findings from a report by a coalition of seven prominent national charities, led by Solicitors for the Elderly, show that while dementia diagnoses in the UK have risen by 54 per cent in the past ten years, 97 per cent of people have not made provision for losing mental capacity.
Furthermore, the report has shown that a third of people in the UK have made no provision whatsoever for old age, including making a will or dealing with pensions.
These statistics are worrying indeed, with many of the growing number of dementia sufferers most likely having no provision in place for their affairs to be dealt with on their behalf. While making plans for losing mental capacity is a difficult subject to address, this report proves the necessity to do so.
The most effective way of making provision is through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – a legal document which allows a nominated person or people to make financial or welfare decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so.
Through having an LPA, if you ever become mentally incapable of managing your financial affairs, or making health or welfare decisions, you will have someone already appointed and in place who can act on your behalf to make these important decisions for you.
While it is a common observation that the process of making an LPA can be complicated, a specialist solicitor can help guide you to make it as simple as possible – this should not become a reason not to make such vital provision for your future.
In the event you do lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA or other adequate provision in place, an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to act on your behalf. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process, and there is no guarantee the person appointed as your deputy would be who you would have chosen yourself.
Although there is a long way to go, last year almost 650,000 applications were made to register an LPA in England and Wales, which shows that increasing numbers of people are now taking action and realising the importance of providing for their futures. This is something we wholeheartedly encourage.
This report has again shown why you must plan for the future, and through doing so, you can give peace of mind and security to yourself and your family that matters will be dealt with in the future, whatever that may hold.
Jonathan Grogan is a solicitor in the specialist wills and probate team at law firm Sintons, based in Newcastle. To speak to him about this or any other matter, contact Jonathan on 0191 226 3644 or firstname.lastname@example.org