Myth-busters #1: Lasting Powers of Attorney are only for people with Dementia

This is not true.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are not the only reasons why someone might need to act as your Attorney in the future. There are many reasons why you might decide to put Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place.

There are two types of LPAs:

  • Health & Care – which lets you choose 1 person or more to make decisions about things like your daily routine (e.g. what to eat and what to wear), medical care, moving into a care home, refusing life sustaining treatment;
  • Financial – which lets you choose 1 person or more to make decisions about money and property for you. For example, paying bills, collecting your benefits, selling your home.

It is important to remember that a Health and Care power can only be used if you become unable to make your own decisions; a Financial Power can be used at any time after it has been registered, but only at your request and upon your direction. You can limit the Financial Power to be used only if you lose capacity, but we don’t recommend this.

It may be that you simply want your chosen loved ones to help you with your finances, even if you are perfectly capable of doing this for yourself. You can be fit and well, with full mental capacity to make your own decisions, but still ask your Attorneys to help. Perhaps you just can’t be bothered anymore and want to spend your time doing other things! Or, perhaps you have a physical impairment, and want your Attorneys to be able to step in. LPAs can also be very useful if you are going to be out of the country for a long period of time and want someone to be able to deal with your bank accounts in the UK or make other financial decisions for you whilst you’re away.

The loss of capacity can be temporary or permanent and can be caused by any number of things including, but not limited to:

  • medication side-effects;
  • illness;
  • accident;
  • brain injury;
  • coma;
  • inability to communicate;
  • learning disability;
  • dementia.

If you lose capacity temporarily, your Attorneys can make decisions for you about your property and finances as well as your health and care during that period. As soon as you regain capacity, you can carry on as before.

As you can see, there is much more to an LPA than preparing for the possibility of dementia. There are many reasons why you might need an Attorney to make decisions for you in the future. The only way to ensure that the person. or people, you want to act are the ones making those decisions, is to make LPAs whilst you are fit and well.

If you would like more information about putting these important documents in place, please contact one of the reassuring experts at Roche Legal. You may also wish to download our Lasting Powers of Attorney factsheet which you will find here.

Need further help?

If you would like advice about anything discussed in this article, speak with a member of the team.

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