Living Well Guide Dementia - Page 27

planning for the future Legal and Financial Support We know not everyone wants to think about things like Wills and Power of Attorney but they are important things that we should do to make sure those who care for you, know what you want. Have you been advised to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, but don’t know what one is or why you would ever need one? Here, Anna-Marie Knipe, a partner and expert in private client services for the elderly at Leyland-based law firm Birchall Blackburn Law answers some frequently asked questions and explains the legal lingo. Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney? Just because you have had a diagnosis of dementia doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to make decisions for yourself about your property, financial affairs, your health and welfare. There are compelling practical and financial reasons for making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA safeguards your wishes if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself because of an accident or an illness like dementia. There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney; one for Property and Financial Affairs and one for Health and Welfare. Most people wouldn’t dream of not insuring their house on the basis that the insurance might not be needed. Similarly, the LPA may never be used, but if it is, life will be much easier for your family who can take steps to safeguard your assets and ensure your wishes are met. What might happen if I don’t make an LPA, and subsequently lose mental capacity? An application would have to be made to the Court of Protection on your behalf, typically by a family member, who would be appointed as your ‘Deputy’. Whilst the Court of Protection application is not as straightforward as making a Lasting Power of Attorney, be rest assured a Deputy can make decision on Financial and Welfare matters for people who cannot make decisions at the time they need to be made. Much like making a Will, you are able to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) by yourself or with support from a family member, however if it isn’t something that you are confident doing alone, it is an option to seek these services from a solicitor.