A new Care Act coming into force in April, which brings in far reaching changes to social care, should enable individuals to have a greater say in how their needs will be met.
However, with 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and 300,000 people diagnosed with cancer every year, many people are not well enough to decide what care they require - and how to fund it.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) gives trusted people, such as a family member or carer, the authority to make decisions on your behalf in the case of illness, accident and in relation to your future care needs.
Creating an LPA is the only legal way to state who you want to look after your affairs if you lose mental capacity. It has to be registered to be valid and can only be signed whilst the person has their full judgment.
When considering who might look after your financial affairs and health care in the worst case scenario here are some points to consider:
Don’t leave it until your mental capacity is open to question to draw up an LPA - it is often too late
An LPA is a complex legal document and the smallest error will render it invalid, so take appropriate legal advice - online DIY versions may prove more costly in the long run
An LPA can be activated through choice when a person still has mental capacity but is going abroad or is housebound through physical incapacity
An LPA needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used
The LPA needs to be lodged with banks and utility providers and the attorney will need to have ID checks
If a donor has a correctly drawn up LPA in place and becomes incapacitated the appointed attorney will have the legal authority to access funds to pay for care home fees and any other requirements.
If you would like to discuss drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney please contact Michele Todd by email email@example.com or by telephone 0114 290 6207.