As average life expectancies rise, a record number of people are choosing to assign friends or family members the status of lasting power of attorney.
According to an article in the Independent, almost 750,000 people are now assigning a lasting power of attorney each year. This number has gone up by 180% over the last five years.
Lasting power of attorneys are people trusted by an individual to have the legal authority to make decisions concerning their money and property if they become mentally incapacitated.
What’s causing the rise?
The rise in the number of lasting power of attorneys assigned each year is said to be caused by longer life expectancies.
According to the ONS, the most common cause of death in 2016 was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Because we’re now living longer than ever, we are more likely to live to an age where we may lose the ability to safely look after our finances or make our own major life decisions.
In an aging population, some women from older generations remain inexperienced at looking after their own finances, as they come from an era where this was stereotypically seen to be the husband’s role.
On average women tend to live longer than men, so these women are more frequently choosing to assign a trusted lasting power of attorney to assist with important decisions as they get older.
What happens without a lasting power of attorney?
Having a lasting power of attorney can offer you peace of mind that should you lose the capacity to make your own decisions, your affairs will be in the safe hands of someone you trust.
Assigning a power of attorney can also relieve stress from loved ones during what is already a difficult time.
Without a lasting power of attorney, if a person loses the capacity to control their own affairs, you could find that:
• Someone unsuitable may be given control.
• Bank accounts may be frozen.
• Family members may have to go through a long and costly court process.
• Dependents may be declined money.
When should a last power of attorney be assigned?
The best time to assign a lasting power of attorney is whilst you still have complete capacity to make your own decisions, as a precaution for the future.
If a last power of attorney is assigned whilst you still have the capacity to make your own decisions, you can specify whether you wish for your representative to start helping you straight away, or if you’d prefer them to only begin making decisions in the instance that you no longer have the capacity to do so yourself.
Your lasting power of attorney will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can begin their duties.
For help and advice relating to power of attorney, get in touch with our solicitors here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors by giving us a call on 0800 002 9577.