How lasting powers of attorney can help protect your future
The recent Dementia Awareness Week, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, put the spotlight on the challenges we face as we live longer lives and encounter the illnesses associated with old age.
A study published by the journal, BMC Medicine, showed that the number of people who die from dementia is set to almost quadruple in the next 20 years.
The study analysed mortality statistics for England and Wales from 2006 to 2014.
By 2040, it is estimated 219,409 people in England and Wales will die from dementia - a significant rise from 59,199 in 2014.
Dame Gill Morgan, chair of NHS Providers, said studies show that dementia is now the most feared disease among the middle aged, even more than cancer and heart disease.
Dame Gill said: “It is a cruel disease because your family watch you declining, and they lose the person, but they keep the body.”
As well as health issues for sufferers, there are also practical matters relating to how their financial and business affairs should be managed.
Sufferers may have to rely on their families to make important decisions for them, but this can be difficult if legal arrangements have not been made in advance. Families may have to go through complicated court procedures to be granted authority to manage the sufferer’s affairs.
You may not be able to predict your future health but it is possible to put procedures in place so that people you trust will be able help you if you do fall ill in the future.
The best way to do this is by setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA enables you to nominate someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you ever lose the ability to do so yourself through illnesses such as dementia.
The property and finance LPA allows you to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs and the personal welfare LPA lets you grant an attorney authority over such matters as health care and the kind of treatment you receive.
They give you the peace of mind of knowing that whatever happens in the future, your interests will be protected by people you trust and have chosen to represent you.
Please contact Josie Birnie or Nigel Gibson-Birch if you would like more information about lasting powers of attorney.