Ageing population will increase take up of Lasting Powers of Attorney

Published: 23/04/2015

One of the implications of our ageing population is that the numbers of people experiencing conditions such as dementia will increase. Linda Cummins, Head of Wills and Probate considers how this will affect the numbers of people setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney.

“Recent media coverage has quoted that there are approximately 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and within the next ten years the numbers are projected to increase to one million. Dementia is a group of related symptoms of an ongoing decline of the brain and can include problems with cognitive ability and also with moods and emotions. Although most types of dementia can’t be cured there are ways to slow down the onset of dementia if it is found early enough.

“Once a person has been diagnosed with dementia it’s a good idea to organise their legal, personal and financial affairs whilst they have the mental capacity to do so. Drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney can be a good first step. Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place means that, should you suffer from dementia and no longer be able to manage your financial affairs or make arrangements for your health and welfare, you would have an attorney – one that you had appointed who could take charge of your affairs for you. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney no-one would have that automatic right – not even your spouse.

“One point that some people aren’t aware of which is important when considering dementia is that putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place doesn’t mean that it has to be used straight away. However there’s great peace of mind for everyone concerned knowing that, should the dementia worsen then the registered Lasting Power of Attorney is there ready to be used.

“When you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney it’s important to think carefully about who you’d like to manage your affairs. You can have more than one attorney and you can appoint a replacement attorney who can act if your original attorney is unable to. You’ll also need another person to sign the form who has known you for at least two years but who is not a family member or you can choose a professional, such as your solicitor or Doctor.

“Being diagnosed with dementia can be a devastating blow and one of the cruellest aspects of the condition is the uncertainty of its progress. Putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place early on can give some peace of mind that, when the condition worsens then financial decisions or decisions about your health and welfare can be taken on your behalf by someone you know and trust who will have your interests at heart.”

You can find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney by clicking here

Content correct at time of publication

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