How Lasting Powers of Attorney can help


Dementia Awareness Week

Those who are diagnosed with dementia, along with their family and friends, often find that they are in completely unknown territory. Dealing with the day to day changes, and anticipating how to put things in place to assist all concerned can be a tough juggling act.

One thing to remember is that over 850,000 in the UK have a current diagnosis of dementia and there are over 100 known types of dementia. It is a frightening fact that at some point in our lives, we will all be affected by dementia in some way. Whether it be a personal diagnosis, or supporting a relative or loved one through their diagnosis.

Fortunately, there are many forms of support available to help those affected by dementia, including numerous support groups. There are also steps which can be taken either prior to, or on early diagnosis, which can make dealing with practical and financial elements much more manageable, alleviating at least one aspect of pressure in such testing times.

One of the most beneficial steps which can be taken is the making of what is known as a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This is a document which can only be made whilst a person (the Donor) has the requisite capacity to do so. It is a formal legal document which is set up to enable a person or persons (the Attorney(s)) to deal with all financial aspects of a Donor who subsequently loses capacity. It is also possible to use the LPA to assist a Donor who has still some or full capacity, but would prefer assistance in dealing with their personal affairs, if the LPA document is drafted in that way.

LPAs are relatively straightforward to set up and the process takes approximately 5-8 weeks in total. Once registered (LPAs have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used) the document will usually be valid for the duration of the life of the Donor.

LPAs enable to the appointed attorney to deal with the banks, building societies, utility companies, The Department of Work and Pensions, and practically all financial institutions on behalf of the Donor. It can also be used to sell the property of the Donor, for instance if the Donor had to go in to Financial care.

One important thing to note is that LPAs can be set up at any time and not merely if a person feels that their memory or health is failing. Many younger people are now making LPAs so that they are in place, should they ever need them in the future.

If you require any advice or assistance regarding the making of a LPA for you or a family member, please contact any member of our private client team, who will be happy to assist. Jenny Barron, head of the department, can be contacted on 01756 692866.

23 May 2018