Dementia -The importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

Dementia is already a significant problem for many people in the U.K. According to figures from the Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 850,000 people living with dementia, with that figure expected to pass the million marks by 2025 and the two million marks by 2050.

Alzheimer’s Disease International suggests that across the globe, a person will develop dementia every three seconds. One issue that worries many people as they head into their later years is what developing dementia would mean for their financial situation.

These fears were escalated during the general election, when the Conservative Party’s plan to tap into older people’s housing wealth to help cover the cost of care was dubbed the “Dementia Tax,” and was so immediately unpopular that the party backtracked on aspects of the proposal during the campaign.

A new study has found that 43% of those over-55 are extremely concerned about the financial impact of suffering dementia in later life, while almost half (47%) worry about their partner being unable to access their money.

Lasting powers of attorney (LPA) can play an enormous role in tackling the issues presented by developing dementia. The arrangements allow a person to appoint an ‘attorney’ to make certain decisions on their behalf, should they no longer be able to do so. The idea is that you appoint an attorney – a close friend or loved one – who you trust to always act in your best interests.

LPAs come in two distinct forms: a property and financial affairs LPA and a health and welfare LPA. However, it is possible to arrange both at the same time, with the same person appointed as your attorney.
In practice, your attorney will be able to handle things like bills, bank accounts, investments and property transactions on your behalf.

The study found that just one in eight of the over-55s have taken the step of arranging an LPA, though their use has increased significantly in recent years. According to figures from the Office of the Public Guardian, the number of LPA registrations have jumped from 129,000 in 2010 to 441,000 in 2015.

 

The risks of not having an LPA in place

The risks of not having an LPA in place are significant, families would need to apply to the Court of Protection for a ‘deputyship order’ which could be a lengthy process and lead to the delay of other important decisions. The whole process can cost more than a thousand pounds too, compared to the cost of arranging an LPA.

The numbers of individuals affected by dementia are set to double over the next 25 years and it is essential that families and loved ones avoid an expensive and time-consuming court process.
For anyone taking advantage of recent pension freedoms or in a drawdown equity release scheme – the risks can be dire. Money can be frozen if they do not have LPA’s until the court of Protection appoints attorneys. Access to funds via an equity release facility will be suspended  whilst waiting on the courts decision.

LPAs are not just about money, they are also about being able to make those important decisions about someone’s healthcare should the need arise. Not only is an LPA more cost effective in the long term, you are also ensuring that those who you trust the most are certain to be the ones making important decisions about your finances, health and welfare, when you need them most.

Get in touch with us if you would like to find out more.

Funeral Plans in Cheshire

Personalising your funeral

Funeral ideas: how to celebrate your life

Seeing as it is our final act on earth, wanting to have a say in your send-off is getting very common nowadays, with 42% of people surveyed in 2016 by funeral directors CPJ Field saying they wish to plan their own funeral.

5 ideas you can use to personalise your funeral
  1. The service: do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want a religious, civil or humanist service? A sustainable coffin? It can be at a venue of your choice or even in your home, rather than a place of worship or burial.
  2. Decoration: You don’t just have to decorate with flowers. Many other items could be displayed that show what you loved and who you were, such as flags, football shirts, records, books and of course photographs.
  3. What to wear: Should everyone traditionally wear black? Or wear a different colour of your choosing? This can be specified by you.
  4. Have family meaningfully involved: Giving out roles to family and friends in advance can make the funeral more meaningful – you could ask someone to give a speech or perform.
  5. Write the eulogy yourself: This could be a goodbye note, a message to your loved ones showing off all that they loved about you. It gives you one last chance to say thank you to all the people important to you.
Music at your funeral

One strong way of personalising your funeral is with your own choice of music – it could be music played or sung live at your funeral ceremony, and the music played as you take your final bow.

Keep in mind the idea that life is to be celebrated – good song choices are ones that are related well to you and will make mourners smile. For example, instead of the popular choices like My Way or Time to Say Goodbye, why not go for Always Look on the Bright Side of Life?

Letting your loved ones know your funeral wishes

Write down your funeral wishes and make sure your loved ones know where they can find your plans.

Planning ahead your funeral costs

With an 8.3% increase on last year, funerals now cost roughly £8,802 if you include professional services, floral tributes, food and so on. Getting a pre-paid funeral plan well organised in advance will make it a bit easier for your loved ones when the time comes.

 

wills and lpa in Cheshire

Why your parents must create a will

In this article are important factors that you and your parents should know about will and testament.

Why should my parents create a will?

A will helps them decide exactly who they want their assets to go to when they pass. In the absence of a will, these will be distributed as per law, with the court appointing someone to manage it. This could then result in family disputes and disagreements. It can also lead to a very long-winded and tedious process of getting the assets to the loved ones.

Is a will needed event if they’ve appointed nominees?

Yes, because a nominee isn’t a legal heir, but just somebody who looks after the assets until they are transferred to the legal heir. Without a will, the heirs are decided as per law, which could result in disputed if the nominee is not the heir.

How is a will made?

It can be hand-written or printed on a plain or stamped sheet of paper. A signature must be put below the last sentence, as anything written below the signature is not considered as part of the will.

It must also be signed by two witnesses. The beneficiaries names, ages, addresses should be put in the Will, with the details of each asset clearly mentioned.

Can the will be altered?

The will can be changed as many times as it needs to be, as long as the changes are made on a different piece of paper with the date clearly mentioned. Again, it needs a signature at the bottom of the last line and it must be attested by two witnesses.

Should it be registered?

It isn’t vital for a will to be registered, but it is recommended so that it is authentic and legal.

Can a will be made online?

Yes – numerous companies provide online services for making a will for a fee. This can help you to create a more valid, detailed and error-free will.

Is a lawyer needed to make it?

A lawyer is not needed, but they can help you make a valid will with no loopholes.

COMMON TERMS USED REGARDING WILLS

Will

The legal document listing the intent of a person regarding the distribution of their assets after their passing.

Intestate

Passing with leaving an invalid will or without any will. In this case, their estate passes by laws of succession rather than what would be the wishes of the deceased.

Testator

The person writing the will.

Executor

The person appointed by the will-maker to make sure their directions regarding their assets are carried out as per their directions.

Legatee

The person who inherits personal property.

Probate

The granting of the right to administer a will.

Registration of the will

When a will is deposited to the registrar or sub-registrar of jurisdictional area by the testator, it is entered into a register with a certified copy given to the testator.

vulnerable people

Vulnerable people need “jargon-free” legal services and more cost options

LSB research the steps needed to improve outcomes for people with dementia or mental health problems.

New research commissioned by the Legal Services Board has found that people suffering from dementia or other mental health problems would benefit from “jargon-free” legal services and advice as well as greater cost transparency.

Sixty people with mental health problems and dementia as well as those caring for them were interviewed regarding their own experience with legal services, to help LSB understand what can be done to improve service experience, accessibility and outcomes for vulnerable people.

A lot of respondents said that their legal needs were being met, however they wanted to be provided with more information from their advisers regarding costs, and to communicate legal issues through more simple English.

LSB chief executive Neil Buckley says: “Sometimes little actions can make a great difference to consumers, particularly those who are vulnerable. When providers take simple and practical steps, this can really make a difference to the consumer’s experience. Consumers can also help by speaking to their lawyer about things they could do that would help to make things easier.”

Mental health

Many of the interviewed people with mental health problems (or their carers) sought free advice from regulated providers or third sector organisations. The most common types of legal issues they have encountered were in wills and trusts, property, and welfare and benefits.

People were apprehensive about using legal services for different reasons: not being able to fully understand technical legal language, being anxious about the likely total cost, and a sense of feeling intimidated by legal professionals.

Where problems with mental health created low-level difficulties when getting legal services, respondents felt happy if they had been provided with opportunities to improve their understanding of the legal information (e.g. provided with repeated explanations and given more time) and if they had been treated with empathy.

Furthermore, they suggested that feeling listened to by a professional and being actively engaged would help them. Continuity of personnel was also an important factor.

Dementia

The majority of interview respondents sought advice from a solicitor, although some had received advice from third party sectors and used the online application service for lasting power of attorney. The most common types of legal issues faced were power of attorney, wills and trusts, and property.

Those in the early stage said they needed more communication from legal services providers due to struggling with processing and retaining information.

While people with dementia suffered with confusion and memory loss, their carers also felt uneasy due to their age and lack of knowledge and awareness of legal services and mental health problems.

Many interviewees felt more could be improved in relation to the communication of legal issues, including providing plain English written information after consultations. Some people also complained about costs, particularly the cost of a solicitor when completing applications for lasting power of attorneys.

For improving accessibility, respondents suggested “jargon-free” advice should be offered, as well as “dementia friendly” services, and transparency about costs – especially for the cost options when setting up lasting power of attorneys.

Solicitors for the Elderly welcomed the report’s findings. Managing partner at Acorn, Chair David Sinclair said: “Our accreditation ensures professionals have a wealth of training and experience to help put vulnerable people at ease when handling complex legal issues, and we encourage increased awareness and improvement of accessibility for these consumers.”