Hardly a week goes by without dementia being mentioned on the radio and in the press. We live longer and longer, at great cost to the NHS, but we have barely begun to understand how we might combat dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Put simply, an LPA gives someone else the power to make certain decisions on your behalf, if you are no longer able to do so.
So, if you are lying unconscious after a traffic accident, an LPA could give your adult son or daughter the legal authority to make decisions about your healthcare. It could also allow him or her to pay your bills using the money in your bank account until you recover. The key point is that, using an LPA, you can choose in advance which trusted person is given the legal right to make these decisions.
It's interesting to note that most people seem happy to write a will, in case they die unexpectedly, perhaps from a sudden heart attack. But fewer people set up an LPA, in case they do not die but are nevertheless incapacitated, perhaps by a stroke. Perhaps the latter is more frightening to contemplate and to plan for.
It makes sense to set up an LPA when writing your will. Both documents make life much easier for your family.
So come on UK media. Let's make life a little easier for our aging UK population. Make more people aware of LPAs and how important they can turn out to be.
- Written by that well-known legal guru, rugby coach and man around town Rory 'LPA' MccGwire.