Lasting Power of Attorney. Planning for care, planning for life.
Many people in the UK are now enjoying a longer life. This is obviously welcomed, although it does pose some economic challenges for our society.
With an ageing population we should also anticipate an increased incidence of people with longer term medical, or personal care needs. Dementia is often – although not exclusively – associated with older age. As dementiastatistics.org points out:
“The number of people with dementia is projected to increase rapidly over the next several decades mainly due to increases in life expectancy and population demographics.”
Furthermore, research* suggests that the cost of dementia is likely to rise in the UK from £25 billion in 2021 to £47 billion in 2050.
This will represent a major challenge for our society, but it will also pose a very real personal challenge for many of us.
Planning for future care is important for individuals and perhaps more importantly for their family. Anyone who has cared for a relative with dementia will appreciate that it is a considerable undertaking and something that should not be over-burdened with additional financial or administrative concerns.
Fortunately, the law allows us to plan for future care through the use of a ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’. As the Government website gov.uk states:
“A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).”
There are two types of LPA, health and welfare LPA’s and property and financial affairs LPA’s. People can choose to draft one or both and they can be taken out at different times.
LPA’s are of course just not for dementia. The recent pandemic for example, saw the provisions of LPA’s coming into play and sadly those experiencing other major illnesses or accidents have required them to be actioned. An LPA can also be drafted to be helpful if you become physically incapacitated meaning for example that you could not see or sign documentation but still have full understanding of the issues. Your Attorney(s) would act under your direction.
LPA’s can be prepared in a way that takes into account temporary incapacitation. This is perhaps of particular importance to business owners who should not assume decision making will take care of itself if they were temporarily out of the business through an illness or an accident. Separate LPA’s for personal and business affairs can sometimes be useful.
The forecasted growth in people living with dementia and other later life illnesses means that more than ever people should be drawing up an LPA as well as a Will.
Commenting on the care choices available for people with Dementia Maria Collins Director of Home Instead Luton and Central Bedfordshire said:
“There is no one solution fits all when it comes to dementia care. The condition is typically one that evolves over time. People may progress from family and day centre care, respite care, through to in-home care and perhaps on to residential care solutions. Individuals with the condition are able to determine their care choices at the earlier stages of the disease, and should be encouraged to do so, as this can guide the family or other professionals who subsequently may need to deliver those care choices.”
Anyone seeking advice on drafting an LPA should contact Pictons on:
T: 0800 302 9448
For information on Home Instead see https://www.homeinstead.co.uk/luton-bedfordshire/home-care-services/
*Source: Luengo-Fernandez, R. & Landeiro, F. ‘The Economic Burden of Dementia in the UK.’