The families of 6 in 10 over-75s could face challenges if they lose mental capacity

Young man showing his elderly father something on a tablet

A survey suggests more than half of people aged over 75 haven’t arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). It’s an oversight that could mean their families may not be able to make decisions on their behalf if they lost mental capacity.

MoneyAge report that research from Just Group revealed that around 3.4 million over-75s had no LPA in place. If you or your relatives may be among them, read on to find out what an LPA is and why having one may bring invaluable peace of mind to you and your family.

An LPA allows you to choose someone you trust to take care of your affairs

An LPA is a legal document that allows you to nominate one or more people you know and trust to take care of your affairs in the event that you can no longer look after them yourself.

There are two types of LPA:

  1. A health and welfare LPA that covers your day-to-day life and any medical decisions or care you need.
  2. A property and financial affairs LPA that covers the management of your savings and assets, paying bills, and claiming benefits.

If you don’t have a health and welfare LPA, your loved ones could be prevented from ensuring you receive medical care according to your wishes.

Lack of a property and financial affairs LPA will likely mean that your family will be unable to manage things like paying your bills or bank accounts.

Without an appropriate LPA in place, even your partner or spouse may not automatically be able to gain access to your investments, insurance, or your bank accounts.

Once registered, an LPA remains in place for life, bringing immeasurable peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.

It’s also possible to make an LPA temporary. A temporary LPA allows you to resume control of your affairs if your capacity improves. This can be particularly useful if you are briefly hospitalised due to an accident or illness.

If you begin to lose your mental capacity, it may be too late to set up an LPA

If you become incapacitated without an LPA in place, you could leave your family with the burden of applying for permission to take care of your affairs. At an already difficult time, they will have to apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy.

Doing this can be time-consuming and expensive. Plus, the judge will decide who is most suitable to make decisions for you, meaning it may not be the person you would choose.

With a registered LPA in place, your attorney can begin managing your affairs immediately after you become incapacitated. This should mean that there’s no delay in your attorney being able to access financial resources or make critical decisions relating to your health.

Remember, if you lose mental capacity, it would be too late to put an LPA in place. With this in mind, it’s something that you should consider organising sooner rather than later.

The 2023 Power of Attorney act will make it easier to put an LPA in place

On 18 September 2023, the Powers of Attorney Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament. This means that the existing paper-based system will move online.

It is hoped that the move to an online system will create a simpler process, making it quicker and easier to register.

The new service will change the way LPAs are made but, for the time being, the current LPA service will continue to be available as usual.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney

Putting an LPA in place could provide you with security if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. If you want to know more about looking after yourself and your loved ones in the future, speak to us.

Please contact us to talk about your concerns and priorities. We’ll work with you to create an estate plan that suits your needs.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning.