With advances in health care and focus on good nutrition the World Health Organisation between 2015 and 2050 estimate that the world’s population over 60 will nearly double from 12% to 22%. The reality is that we are living in an ageing population and whilst on the one hand this is good news, an ageing population does present challenges in adult children dealing with aging parents and issues regarding mental capacity.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are intended to deal with the issue of the aging populations and is designed to fill the gap between losing capacity and passing away. The Office of the Public Guardian reported that 3.5 million LPA’s have been registered by the end of 2018 and they receive 3,100 LPA applications every day.
The LPA delegates power to a third party (usually a family member) to make decisions on behalf of the person who loses mental capacity. However, there are number of pitfalls in practice that people should be live to when putting in place an LPA.
Provided the person putting in place the LPA is aware of the issues and get the appropriate advice when drafting the LPA, many of these issues can be mitigated.
LPA’s still have a huge benefit over the other option of doing nothing. If a person no longer has capacity to make decisions it is then too late to put in place an LPA. In these cases a relative must apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy. This process can take at least 6 months and during this period assets are frozen. The deputy is under a requirement to file annual reports on each decision that is made and the cost of this can easily run into the thousands. Further while under an LPA you can choose who to be the attorney, but under the deputyship the court appoints a person to deal with the financial affairs.