Mental and physical incapacity can hit at any time, which is why charities recommend planning ahead to ease the potential burden on loved ones
We all know that we should write a will, but too few of us know we should also consider something called lasting power of attorney.
By 2025, more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Society. One in five people over 85 already suffers from it, with rates significantly higher among women than men. Handling your financial affairs becomes virtually impossible – which is why charities who care for the elderly recommend everyone plans ahead to ease the potential burden on our relatives.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) gives another individual the legal authority to look after specific aspects of your financial affairs or health and welfare should you lose the capacity to do so. It's not just for the elderly; younger people may become incapacitated through accident or illness. If you do not have an LPA in place and later become mentally incapacitated, relatives may face long delays and expense in applying to the court of protection to get access and take control of your assets and finances.
LPAs are designed to be recognised by financial institutions, care homes and local authorities, as well as tax, benefits and pension authorities. They are legal documents that can be set up relatively cheaply, with or without the help of a solicitor. You may consider having one alongside your will.
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