The UK “Incapacity Crisis” – are you prepared?

Earlier this month, The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) published an article in relation to a new report from both Solicitors for the Elderly and Centre for Future Studies in which it was revealed that the UK is heading for an “incapacity crisis” with a wide gap between the number of people likely to lose mental capacity and the relatively small number who have arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare.

The STEP article can be found here and makes for very interesting reading. It reviews the current increase in the diagnosis of dementia of an ageing population combined with a lack of planning and preparation for old age. In particular, the lack of people who have a Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare in place and the common misconceptions that both individuals and their families have regarding medical decisions and end of life care.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to make a decision as to who steps in and helps you with your property and financial affairs should you lose physical or mental capacity. In addition should you lose mental capacity a separate Lasting Power of Attorney will assist with health and welfare decisions to be made on your behalf.

Our Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney sets out the two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney and the various roles to be fulfilled and steps to be taken to register a Lasting Power of Attorney.

The key point to always be aware of is that a Lasting Power of Attorney, whether for property and financial affairs or for health and welfare, can only be put in place while a person has the mental capacity to do so. Unfortunately, when it comes to mental capacity and creating Lasting Powers of Attorney, you cannot close the stable door after the horse has bolted.

If you would like to discuss any of the above issues then please feel free to contact us on 01245 504904 to book an appointment to discuss these in more detail.

Finally, a small reward for those who have been prepared…

Also in the news earlier this year was a Refund Scheme launched by the Ministry of Justice offering a partial refund on applications to register a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney which were made between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017. This Scheme was set up as a result of reduced processing costs for the Office of the Public Guardian in recent years.

The amount you will recieve depends on when the application was made, as below:

When you paid the fee Refund for each power of attorney
April 2013 to September 2013 £54
October 2013 to March 2014 £34
April 2014 to March 2015 £37
April 2015 to March 2016 £38
April 2016 to March 2017 £45

(Source: Gov.uk, Feb 2018)

To check whether you are eligible to claim or to make a claim, please follow this link.

Chris Kelly
Chris is an experienced, friendly and professional Solicitor with our "Wills, Probate, Later Years" team. Chris is partner of Leonard Gray and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), which is the leading professional body for practitioners in the fields of trusts and estates. He is also a Trustee/Director of Age UK Essex and a Dementia Friend.