Dementia is a growing problem in the UK. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently 850,000 people with dementia, and that number is set to reach one million by 2025.
At some point, many people with dementia will reach the stage where they are unable to make decisions for themselves. As a result, it is incredibly important that somebody is nominated to have lasting power of attorney (LPA).
An LPA allows that person – known legally as your ‘attorney’ – to make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer in a position to make them yourself. There are two types of LPA – a property and finances LPA and a health and care LPA. You don’t have to make both at the same time.
Choosing the right person to act on your behalf can be very difficult, so it pays to take your time and not rush the decision. They will have to be over 18, and if making financial and property decisions, cannot have been declared bankrupt.
You will need to appoint someone that you trust, who you believe knows you well and will act in your best interests. You also need to find someone who is reliable, and who has the necessary skills to take on the responsibility. There is little point picking someone who knows you well, but who will be unreliable in meeting their obligations. Your attorney needs to be someone that you can always rely on.
Most people pick a family member, such as their partner or child, but you can appoint a professional, such as a solicitor if you prefer. Bear in mind that they may charge for their time.
You should also consider picking a replacement attorney. This is the person you wish to make decisions on your behalf should the first attorney no longer be able to or is unwilling to carry out the role. So, if you pick your partner for example, you may choose to select someone younger such as one of your children as the replacement attorney.
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