What Is A Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPOA) And Why Is It Important For Those With Dementia?

What Is A Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPOA) And Why Is It Important For Those With Dementia?

By 2025, it is estimated that over one million people in the United Kingdom will have dementia. This number is only anticipated to increase as people live longer; therefore, it is crucial that clients plan for the future, as mental incapacity can be extremely stressful for both the individual and their loved ones.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is the best method to ensure that a person’s desired decision-makers have the authority to act on their behalf.

What is a lasting power of attorney, and why would someone require one?

An LPA is a legal document that allows a person (“a donor”) to select a trusted individual or individuals (“attorneys”) to make decisions on their behalf if they lose mental capacity. There are two categories of LPA: property and financial affairs and health and welfare. Anyone over the age of 18 with mental capacity can create an LPA.

What is the meaning of ‘mental capacity’ in this context?

Mental capacity is the ability to comprehend and make independent decisions. In this context, capacity refers to the donor’s understanding of the LPA process, its purpose, and its anticipated outcome.

Executing Lasting Powers of Attorney with dementia:

A donor must have the mental capacity to create an LPA, which can be problematic for those with dementia.

It is a prevalent misconception that individuals with dementia cannot create LPAs. However, this is not the case, and a large number of clients can still create LPAs.

Changing capacity:

Those with dementia frequently experience fluctuating capacities. In the case of fluctuating capacity, a person’s decision-making ability alters over time.

If someone’s capacity fluctuates, we will do our utmost to accommodate them. If you know, for instance, that your loved one makes better decisions in the morning or after lunch, we will attempt to schedule meetings around those times.

Time is of the essence.

It is imperative not to “leave it too late” because once a person loses mental capacity, the option to create LPAs will no longer be available. If we are unable to take instructions from a client whose mental capacity is in question, we can refer them to a capacity assessor for a more in-depth evaluation; however, this may corroborate the client’s lack of mental capacity.

If a client has lost mental capacity, a deputyship application is the only option available at this point. However, deputyship applications are time-consuming, costly, and, depending on your familial circumstances, can be complicated, which can add to the stress of an already stressful situation.

In light of this, it is advisable to obtain advice as soon as possible, and our lifetime and estate planning team at DLS Solicitors is available to assist clients with any LPA-related questions. For further information, please contact us here.

Avatar of DLS Solicitors by DLS Solicitors
2nd October 2023
Avatar of DLS Solicitors
DLS Solicitors

Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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