Those at risk of illnesses such as cancer and dementia are being warned to take out adequate protection for a loss of mental capacity, as Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) cases multiply.
Legal experts at JMW have designed a quiz for people to assess whether they might be at risk of losing mental capacity and has also compiled a guide that explains the need for appointing LPA, which is often misunderstood. The quiz and guide can be viewed at: bit.ly/LPAquizJMW.
JMW noted a 50 per cent rise in the number of LPA cases in the past 12 months, with the simple legal procedure providing a form of insurance for those who are concerned about losing mental capacity as a result of a brain injury, accident, illness or simply old age.
Tasnim Khalid, partner and expert in wills and estate planning at JMW, says:
“It is not just older people or those in the early stages of dementia who might lose mental or physical capacity. It’s people like rugby players, boxers, construction workers or really anybody who could have an accident at any time that means they are unable to make decisions about their financial affairs or health and wellbeing.
“Under these circumstances and without an LPA, you would lose access to your banking amongst other things and the Court of Protection would need to decide who is best to handle payments such as bills, care and ongoing financial commitments, which can be a long and costly process.”
Employers in high-risk sectors like construction are advised to offer guidance to staff about the risks of losing mental or physical capacity and the legal measures to safeguard against this.
Earlier this year, a report from the Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project revealed that concussion in rugby is continuing to rise and now accounts for approximately 25 per cent of all match day injuries. Associations and clubs for contact sports players are advised to recommend LPAs and other legal safeguards for players who could be at risk.
Tasnim says: “The quiz and guide are designed to educate people who aren’t sure whether or not they would benefit from an LPA. The reality is that everybody should have these kinds of measures in place – in a similar way to wills – as you never know what the future holds and the best time to conduct this kind of life admin is when you’re in a sound state of mind and physically well.”