Dementia Awareness Week 2021
‘Just another bit of paper’
This week is Dementia Awareness Week 2021, and we are taking this opportunity to consider the importance of organising our affairs.
It seems like our day to day lives are busy enough already and we are always running from A to B. When it comes to organising your financial and health matters for something that may not even happen in the future, it is easy to push it to one side for another day.
It is not easy to think about what would happen if you or your loved ones were to be taken ill or lost capacity for some time. It is easier to think that this is just something older people have to worry about. Dementia Awareness week can help encourage to you face these decisions now so you can carry on your daily life.
Some of us may be all too familiar with a loved one in hospital with something so seemingly innocent like a water infection, to find out that they are not communicating like they usually do. You may have found, to your frustration, it seems that when trying to manage their affairs you are told you cannot help. Despite your good intentions, you have no authority.
Or, if the situation becomes more permanent and your loved loses capacity long term, you are struggling with not only their diagnosis, care and life changes, but also navigating the costly route in making an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy.
With a bit of planning and by having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, this can avoided.
You may have heard the term “Enduring Power of Attorney” and whilst there are still many perfectly valid and useful Enduring Powers of Attorney around, they have now been replaced with two new forms:
Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
The Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs can be used whilst you have capacity if you would like a bit of extra help running errands or enjoying a cruise whilst your financial affairs are safely in your nominated Attorney’s hands. It can also be used if you lose capacity all together.
The Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare differs slightly, because of the nature of your Attorney’s powers for very personal choices such as where you live and your care, it can only be used if you lose capacity.
Both documents are registered straight after completion to make sure it is accepted by the Office of the Public Guardian before any issues arise.
So what is the catch? A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be prepared if you have capacity. So by the time you or your loved ones need it, it could be too late.
With ‘lockdown’ easing and the world opening up again, a Lasting Power of Attorney may not be the most thrilling jobs to do, but it is essential to have ready if you or a loved one should ever need it.
Written by Michelle Crump, Solicitor – Wills, Trust & Probate Team. 19.05.2021
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