28th October 2019
The practical and emotional stresses of dealing with ageing parents and grandparents can be challenging, especially when important decisions about their finances and healthcare need to be made.
It can be particularly difficult speaking to your parents about a time when your roles will be reversed and you will be the ones looking after them, yet it is almost always best to have a conversation sooner rather than later. This will make the whole process easier for them and for you.
Putting off a conversation with your parents carries the risk that they may lose capacity and then cannot implement an LPA. This can have adverse consequences, particularly for property and finances. For example, what if you need to pay for your parents’ care but have no authority to access their bank accounts? A Deputyship application to the Court of Protection would be required, but your parents would have no control over who makes decisions on their behalf as the person entitled to make decisions will be appointed by the Court. The Deputyship process can be expensive, extremely stressful and can take many months to implement.
Many parents appoint their spouse and/or children as their attorneys. It is a good idea for the Donor to speak with the attorneys to see if they are happy with the responsibilities involved. However, if parents prefer, they could always appoint professional attorneys such as Battrick Clark Solicitors.
What will a Lasting Power of Attorney allow me to do for my loved ones?
If you have been appointed as an Attorney for Property and Finances then you can pay bills, manage a bank account, collect benefits, collect a pension or sell the home on behalf of your loved one.
If you have been appointed as an Attorney for Health and Welfare then you can make decisions on your loved ones daily routine, where they live or moving into a care home, their medical treatment and life sustaining treatment (if chosen by the donor).
At what point should you consider registering a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The majority of people applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney are over the age of 60. A person can only make a Lasting Power of Attorney whilst they have mental capacity. Really everyone should consider a Lasting Power of Attorney as mental and physical incapacity can hit at any time. A Lasting Power of Attorney would help families in the event such as a stoke, illness, car accident or sports injury leaving you mentally unable to deal with your affairs. According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. One in 14 people over 65 will develop dementia, and the condition affects 1 in 6 people over 80. The number of people with dementia is increasing because people are living longer. It is estimated that by 2025, the number of people with dementia in the UK will have increased to around 1 million.
It is never too early to approach the subject with your loved ones or to even consider doing one yourself. The important fact to remember is a Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made whilst a person has mental capacity.