It is difficult to comprehend that you would ever lose the ability to manage your own affairs but mental and physical incapacity can happen to anyone at any time.
It is anticipated that by 2040 nearly one in seven people will be over the age of 75 (Government Office for Science) and by 2025 more than 1 million people in the UK will suffer from dementia (Alzheimer’s Society). Younger people are not immune; they too can suddenly become incapacitated from an accident or illness.
It has become more important than ever before to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. It will ensure that you have the freedom to choose those individuals you trust to manage your affairs in the event you become incapacitated.
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and you later lose the ability to make or communicate decisions you would no longer be able make a Lasting Power of Attorney, rather it would be necessary for your family or friends to apply to the Court of Protection to access and gain control of your assets. These could be individuals you may not have necessarily chosen to act on your behalf and the application can be both a time consuming and very expensive process, so it is best to arrange to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place as soon as you can before it is too late. You can request a guidance note here.
This article was originally published in April 2017.