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Why we should all plan in case we lose mental capacity

View profile for Kelly Gill
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According to The Alzheimer's Society, there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia and 225,000 will develop dementia this year. That's one every three minutes.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or have children, don’t assume your nearest and dearest will automatically be able to deal with your financial affairs and make decisions about your healthcare, if you lose mental capacity i.e. the ability to make those decisions yourself. Unless you have set up a Power of Attorney, they won’t have the authority and may need to apply to the courts – often a long, stressful and costly process.

Here’s our guide to setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA)

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document which allows someone to make decisions for you - or act on your behalf - if you are no longer able to (or in respect of finances, you ask for assistance or no longer want to) make your own decisions.

This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and are no longer able to make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’). You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity when you make your LPA.

There are different types of power of attorney and you can set up more than one.

Health and welfare lasting power of attorney

Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:

  • your daily routine, for example washing, dressing, eating
  • medical care
  • moving into a care home
  • life-sustaining treatment
  • where you live
  • what you eat
  • who you have contact with
  • what kind of activities you take part in

It can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.

Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney

Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:

  • managing a bank or building society account
  • paying bills
  • collecting benefits or a pension
  • selling your home
  • investing money
  • arranging repairs to property

It can be used as soon as it’s registered, with your permission. You can restrict the types of decisions your attorney can make or allow them to make all decisions on your behalf.

If you set up a property and financial affairs LPA, your attorney must keep accounts and ensure their money is kept separate from yours. You can ask for details of how much is being spent and how much money you have; the details can be sent to your solicitor or a family member.

How much is a lasting power of attorney?

If you decide to use a solicitor or other legal professional, you will need to pay legal fees.

At Wilkinson Woodward Solicitors we charge £350 +VAT, plus the court fee for setting up a health and welfare LPA or for arranging a property and financial affairs LPA. Should you decide to do both at the same time, the cost is £575+VAT, plus court fees.

For a couple wanting both Health and Welfare and Property and Financial Affairs LPAs, we charge £950 +VAT, plus court fees.

The court fee is variable depending on income with a maximum court fee of £82 per document.

Call or email us now for a no-obligation chat about Lasting Powers of Attorney.

law@wilkinsonwoodward.co.uk

01422 339600

Download our free guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney