Don't Get Caught in Legal Limbo
By Natalie Mason, Solicitor in the Tax, Wills, Estates and Trusts Department of Battens Solicitors Limited and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).
Living longer is of course good news but with it comes the sobering fact that, as we age, more of us will have dementia.
The Alzheimer's Society estimates that 800,000 people in England already live with dementia and one in three over-65s will go on to develop it in some form.
It's common sense to write a will to provide for your loved ones when you die, but if dementia or another degenerative condition leaves you mentally unfit to make decisions while you are still alive everyone is left in legal limbo.
This is where a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is invaluable. It allows you to decide now who will have the authority to manage your money and even how or when they use it.
Making an LPA gives you control and peace of mind. Take the planning of care home fees for instance. Without an LPA, your family could be left with no authority to manage your funds to help pay for your needs. They may have to apply to the Court of Protection for an order to access the money, a potentially frustrating and upsetting experience in what is already a difficult situation.
An LPA can also help when you run a business. Consider how difficult life would be if you or your partner or major shareholder were suddenly incapable. What would be the impact on your customers, colleagues and employees?
As always, the best advice is to speak to the experts. Battens Solicitors has been established for more than 300 years and is a Legal 500 firm. We act for many clients on Powers of Attorney and deal with applications to the Court of Protection.