World Alzheimer’s month: Key considerations with Lasting Power of Attorney
Let’s begin with a sobering statistic. One in five people over the age of 80* (yes that’s 20%) are affected by Dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a physical illness which damages a person’s brain and is the most common cause of Dementia in the UK. Whilst the medical side of dealing with a diagnosis is devastating, the very real financial difficulties that can accompany it often cause additional stress to patients and their families at the worst possible time.
Though no one likes to think they will need to consider a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney[s] (LPA’s) in the event they could lose mental capacity, these things should not be ignored until the last minute.
Mike Rosevear, Independent Financial Adviser at One Four Nine Group, commented: “At One Four Nine Group, we recognise the need to plan for the worst whilst hoping for the best. Much like a handy umbrella you hope you will not have to use, a Will or LPA arrangement are two important tools which can shield your family from the financial issues which often arise when someone loses the capacity to make day to day decisions about their life and finances. With an increase in Alzheimer’s diagnoses expected over the coming decade, disputes amongst family members will only become more common as they strive to protect their loved ones amid conflicting differences of opinion – indeed the legal world is already seeing a growing trend of last-minute Wills or LPAs being disputed.”
“Seeking advice and putting in place the necessary protections now – when mental capacity is not in doubt – that make your wishes clear in the event of a diagnosis will help to minimise the impact of this devastating news on both you and your family for the long term.”
Some key areas to consider include:
- Check your existing legal arrangements: We would advise you always seek professional legal advice when completing your Will or LPAs, rather than the trend these days to save money and do it yourself.
- Decide what your LPA agreement will cover: There are two types of LPA agreements – “Property and Financial Affairs” and “Health and Welfare.” You can arrange one or both of these LPA agreements.
- Choose who to appoint as your attorneys: You should have a minimum of two people appointed.
- Communicate with your family: These can be difficult conversations to have, but if you want your family to know what your wishes are, it is important to communicate clearly. If speaking face to face is not comfortable, consider writing the information that you want to share with them, so they at least know what to expect.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate on Estate Planning.
Mike Rosevear DipFA, SOLLA
Independent Financial Adviser