The rise in this condition and an aging population makes estate planning even more important. Making a Will can certainly go so far in organising ones affairs, however in life it is essential that the correct paperwork is in place for all situations.
A LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) allows a person to nominate another to act on their behalf, however the person must give their consent when they have mental capacity. If capacity is lost then the only course of action is the Court of Protection, which is a lengthy and costly process often resulting in limited powers for the applicant.
An attorney does not need to have any legal experience but it is vital that the donor (the person wishing another to act for them) has trust in them. There are two types of LPA:
Health and Welfare – this allows a person to make decisions on such matters as specific treatments and palliative care. The power will only come into effect if the donor is to lose mental capacity, up until that point the donor would always make their own decisions on such matters.
Property and Financial Affairs – under this power there is an option for the donor to state that they wish the attorney to act for them whilst mental capacity is still present. Day to day financial matters can be taken care of by the attorney, however they must act in the donor’s best interests and help them make their own decisions even if they consider some of them to be unwise ones.
With a condition such as dementia it may take many years before the cognitive abilities of the donor are badly affected. Having a power of attorney document in place ensures the donors interests are protected throughout the process and from day one.
Discussing the situation with the family also means that all those involved understand the powers and limitations of a lasting power of attorney. In Bristol, Rose and Trust have been helping people for many years gain peace of mind through the timely preparation of such documents.