According to the Alzheimer’s Society, 1 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025. Already, 1 in 5 of us over the age of 85 are affected and plenty more are affected at an even younger age. When dementia strikes, it’s difficult for both the person affected and their loved ones. Especially, when difficult decisions have to be made about personal care and finances. Many people in the UK have a will, but Powers of Attorney are often overlooked. Incapacity can affect anyone through injury, accident or illness, so it’s not just the elderly who need to think about it.
Many presume that if something serious happened to them that their next of kin would automatically be able to look after them and their affairs, but this isn’t necessarily the case without potentially time-consuming and stressful applications to the Court of Protection. If you are keen to plan ahead and ensure your affairs are managed as you’d want, should the time come where you lack the ability to make important decisions yourself…then you need to look into the pros and cons of formally appointing a Power of Attorney.
Not everyone will feel they have a need for a Power of Attorney and of course, everyone’s situation is different. You will need to have someone in mind that you think will be both suitable and trustworthy, and to fully consider the associated responsibilities and expectations in granting a Power of Attorney to someone.
If you decide you want to give someone the right to make decisions on your behalf when you are no longer deemed capable, whether this is health and welfare related and/or property and finances related, then you will need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. You can appoint a reputable solicitor or other legal professional to organise this but it’s important to note you do not need to take legal advice to give Power of Attorney.
Forms and further guidance are available from the Office of the Public Guardian https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-a-lasting-power-of-attorney