Did you know that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have become the leading causes of death for the first time in the UK? According to data published by the Office of National Statistics, dementia took 41,283 female lives and 20,403 male lives in 2015 alone. This has led to a huge rise in the number of lasting power of attorney applications in the UK, according to an article in The Telegraph, published in November 2016.
The article went on to state that in 2015, 441,500 power of attorney arrangements were set up, a drastic increase since 2008, a year that witnessed only 36,000 such arrangements.
Dementia or Alzheimer’s leads to degeneration of brain function, with the patient gradually losing their memory and ability to make decisions. Having an LPA or lasting power of attorney, which is a legal document that empowers chosen carers or relatives to make decisions on their behalf, thus becomes necessary.
According to the solicitors at SCL Wills & Probate, specialising in lasting power of attorney advice in London, there are two options for LPA; one includes health and welfare, while the other involves property and financial affairs.
• Health and Welfare Power of Attorney
This LPA names the person who is designated to make decisions regarding the individual’s medical treatment, when they are no longer able to do so for themselves.
• Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney
This LPA names the person who will make financial decisions regarding the person’s property and other assets on their behalf when they are no longer considered fit to make such decisions for themselves.
If you too are worried of what will happen if you lose the mental capacity to make sound financial decisions, considering an LPA is a good idea. To determine the type of power of attorney best suited to your situation, consult solicitors specialising in wills and probate.
However, the question that still might remain could be whom you should choose to take on such an important responsibility on your behalf? Here is a quick guide to help you make the right decision.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Attorney to Act under a Power of Attorney
Most people consider their spouse, children or close family members to fill in the role of an attorney under apower of attorney. However, just being related doesn’t ensure that a person will make wise decisions on your behalf. Choose a person who satisfies the below mentioned parameters.
1. Should be Trustworthy
This is the most important factor when looking at someone to carry your wishes with your best interest at heart.
2. Should Be Younger Or Of Same Age as You
Avoid choosing someone residing in a different geographical location or someone who is older than you, since there may be a greater likelihood of them predeceasing you or not having capacity themselves.
3. Should Have the Ability to Think Clearly
There may be various occasions when the person might need to make important financial, even making compromises, if necessary. This will require them to seek good financial management and investment advice from those qualified in the field and not to try and do it themself.
4. Should Keep Your Wishes First
The person should be able to abide by your wishes and make decisions accordingly, keeping their own personal beliefs and financial issues aside.
5. Should be Compassionate
The person should share a good rapport with your family, if he/she is not someone from your family, to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
Choosing someone to act under a power of attorney is a crucial decision. Seek professional advice in the UK to know who you should appoint and to give this power to and the procedure for applying for lasting power of attorney.
It is a crucial decision that must be made under guidance from a professional in the UK, to appoint the right individual to act under a power of attorney and follow the correct procedure for an application for a Lasting Power of Attorney to be made.