Power of attorney – why numbers are rocketing
There has been a huge rise in the number of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) created, prompted no doubt by 2016 figures showing that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have overtaken heart disease and cancer to become the biggest cause of death in the UK.
Figures for the first eight months of 2016 show that there had been over 300,000 LPA registrations, and 441,500 were registered in 2015, compared with just 36,000 during the whole of 2008.
HOW THEY WORK
In the same way that a Will protects your loved ones after you pass away, an LPA is designed to protect you if, whilst still alive, you lose the ability to make financial or care decisions on your own behalf. Making an LPA allows you to choose someone you know and trust to make important decisions should you be unable to do so.
There are two types of LPA, one covering property and financial matters, the other dealing with health and welfare. You can choose to make one or both types. You will need to appoint one or more people to be your attorney; these can be relatives or friends, your spouse or partner, or a professional adviser such as your solicitor.
Whilst many people are tuned into the benefits of having an LPA in place, many people aren’t; they automatically assume their loved ones could step in and deal with their financial affairs and decisions about their health and welfare. However, if you lose mental capacity and haven’t made an LPA (or a pre-October 2007 Enduring Power of Attorney, applicable only to property and financial matters), a family member would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy.
The role of Deputy provides reduced powers and an annual fee is payable, it can also take months to put in place. If an acceptable Deputy can’t be found, the local authority is appointed. They will then be given access to your financial affairs and can decide matters such as where you live and what care you receive.
The information within the article is purely for information purposes only and does not constitute individual advice.
Please note this is based on the process in England and therefore some rules may vary in different parts of the UK.