A diagnosis of dementia is not the end of your life as you know it. Increasingly, people are managing to live, and live well, with the condition for many years before becoming incapacitated.
This time is invaluable as it provides the opportunity to plan ahead, sort out your affairs, and most importantly, make your views about your future wishes known to friends and family.
This is where a Lasting Power of Attorney comes in.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document used to appoint one or more people to act as attorneys to handle your affairs in case you become unwell later. You can have one or more attorneys acting together or separately. You can appoint replacements in case the first attorneys cannot act -for example, you can appoint your wife as first attorney with your son as a replacement attorney.
There are two types of LPA :
- An LPA for property and affairs would cover, for example, paying bills, collecting pensions and generally looking after your financial and legal affairs.
- An LPA for health and welfare can cover personal matter such as where you live, care plans, and even medical treatment including end of life issues.
Seeking legal advice
The LPA can be written at any time, but before it can be used it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. This process can take months rather than weeks. My tip is to register it straight away after the LPA has been signed. This can avoid delays later.
It is possible to draw up an LPA yourself, or you can seek expert advice from a solicitor who will be able to guide you through the process and keep the document, once registered, in a safe place until needed.
The important thing to remember is that writing an LPA gives you the chance now to make plans and arrangements for the future.
It is a sort of insurance to ensure people you trust are handling your most important personal affairs. Without an LPA matters could be left to chance.
• See more at www.davidgray.co.uk/