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Tuesday 13th September 2016

Peace of mind in later life

Increasingly, many families are having to face up to dealing with the difficult subject of dementia and its effects upon the future of those who suffer from this cruel disease.

As Sam Reid of Rundlewalker says, ‘None of us knows what is in store for us at the end of our lives but making sensible plans well ahead can make things so much easier for our nearest and dearest.’

‘There’s never a better time to think about a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) than when you are in full fitness and can think rationally about how you would like your family or friends to help you in the future. Plus, it’s all about peace of mind in later life.’

The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that there are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK of whom 40,000 are under 65. Many of these patients no longer have the mental capacity to organise their financial affairs or make decisions about their health and welfare.

Rundlewalker believe people should view LPAs as an important part of planning for their family’s future.

There are two types of LPA: one that gives someone you trust the legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, and the other deals with your health and welfare.

A property and financial LPA empowers your chosen attorney to buy or sell your property, run your bank accounts, pay bills, spend and invest your money in a suitable way. Meanwhile a health and welfare LPA allows your chosen attorney to make appropriate decisions about where you live, your health care and even your diet.

You can have more than one attorney but they must be over 18, not bankrupt and willing to take on what is a very serious responsibility. Crucially you must feel you trust them.

Once these LPAs are set up, it doesn’t mean you have lost control of your life. You can choose whether they can be used either before, or only when you lose your mental capacity. And you can amend or revoke them at any time.

Even the Ministry of Justice has recently been campaigning to raise public awareness of LPAs with the message ‘Make the choice, don’t take the chance,’ encouraging younger people to talk to their parents, and even consider creating their own.

But as always caution is key. These documents are designed to be recognized by financial institutions, care homes and local authorities as well as by tax benefits and pension authorities. Hence proper legal advice provided by Rundlewalker is always recommended, as well as being an independent third party to what can be a sensitive issue.

The forms have to be signed and witnessed and then registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

We recommend clients obtain both types of LPA to ensure their Attorneys will have the scope to fully manage their property and health affairs should it be necessary to do so.

Please do not hesitate to contact Sam Reid on 01392 209205 if you would like further information about Lasting Powers of Attorney or making a Will.

Email Sam Reid: sam.reid@rundlewalker.com