Lasting power of attorney is an important decision after a dementia diagnosis
After you or a loved one have been diagnosed with dementia, it is important to plan ahead to ensure that the person who is living with dementia is taken care of in the best possible way. It can be an emotional process – nobody likes to imagine a partner, family member or least of all yourself going through it – but advance care planning guarantees someone with dementia is properly looked after in the years to come.
One particularly important way you can plan ahead, which Southport solicitors Magnus Legal are advocating during Dementia Awareness Week (15th May to 21st May), is to acquire a lasting power of attorney.
Lasting power of attorney is a legal document, allowing someone else to make important decisions on behalf of a person who is mentally incapable of doing it themselves, for instance if they are living with dementia. An LPA hands this responsibility to a trusted loved one to make crucial decisions about property, finances, welfare and much more.
The responsibility of taking care of yourself if you are living with dementia can become a source of anxiety as the dementia progresses. Although you or your loved one will enjoy possibly many years of still being capable, a lasting power of attorney allows someone else to shoulder this burden of making vital decisions.
It also prevents someone with dementia from being taken advantage of by strangers. Furthermore, giving loved ones the power to handle any legal matters can ultimately save you time and money in the long run as decisions about wealth, welfare, finance or property can become perplexing for someone with dementia. Where possible, the person who is living with dementia should be involved in any decision making processes, however there may come a time where this is not possible. It is best to arrange everything in advance while the person is capable of making these decisions.
Anyone can be named as your attorney as long as they are mentally capable and over the age of 18. You could even have several attorneys who can make decisions together or to handle certain matters individually. Anyone who is granted lasting power of attorney must follow the law of the Mental Capacity Act and they may be prosecuted if they do not. This ensures no-one can take advantage of the person in their care, for instance, or mix their finances with your own.
Although there will be a lot to think about after a dementia diagnosis, it is crucial that lasting powers of attorney are considered as early as possible.
It is a good idea to consult a solicitor to assist you with LPAs as they are important, lawfully binding documents – even if it is possible to do without legal representation. Doing so could save someone with dementia, and their loved ones, years of stress or worry.