If your parent or other elderly relative is showing signs of having difficulties managing their financial arrangements such as organising payments, bills or making withdrawals from the bank, it may be time to talk about Power of Attorney. There are different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney, which we look at here.
Between 2015 and 2030 the number of elderly people worldwide is set to increase by 56% to 1.4 billion; with this increasing longevity attributable to better nutrition, vaccinations and advanced medical treatments.
With the ageing population comes increasing concerns for how we can support them and their health; as many as 225,000 of people will develop dementia this year alone, and in one in six people over 80 suffer with the condition, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
How can you support parents or elderly family members?
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked question:
If an elderly family member is struggling to cope or if their health is deteriorating, it might be time to talk about Lasting Powers of Attorney.
As there isn’t an automatic right for you or their ‘next of kin’ to make decisions on their behalf, you need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to be able to help manage their finances, protect their money and make the big decisions they can’t. This is particularly necessary after a dementia diagnosis, when your loved ones might struggle with their finances, but it is important for everyone to consider.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document in which someone (the donor) gives another person (the attorney) the right to help them make decisions, or take decisions on their behalf.
There are two types of LPA, for:
- property and financial affairs, which can be made for both personal and business reasons; and
- health and welfare
Where possible, I would recommend sitting down with everyone involved to discuss who would be a suitable attorney. During this conversation, explore the existence of the power and its necessity, as well as asking the donor their reasons for selecting the attorney or attorneys and how they would like the power to be used. By discussing this with all who may be involved, the chances of conflict arising at a later stage are greatly reduced.
When should we consider Power of Attorney?
You must seek LPA while the ‘donor’ still has the mental capacity to make the decision.
If there is no LPA appointed, and your loved one ends up needing help with their assets, you will have to apply to the court to be appointed a ‘Deputy’. This can be a lengthy process, so planning ahead is always best.
How do you appoint an attorney?
Granting LPA is a big decision, and it is always the choice of the person who is appointing the power. Those who wish to make best advantage of LPAs as part of their life planning should consider taking professional advice about the appropriate measures available.
Contact our experts if you need legal advice on the different types of Lasting Power of Attorney.
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