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My son’s under 10s football match was cancelled at the weekend as they couldn’t get enough players to fill the substitutes’ bench. Faced with the prospect of having to find an alternative way to burn the 10 million kilojoules of energy my son generates every day, I expressed my frustration and suggested they play anyway without subs, but my son simply stated, “But Mummy, if there is no-one on the subs bench, then who will take my place if I get tired or injured?”.

Touché. But his words in fact reminded me of similar words I say to clients when they are thinking about making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Who would stand in for you if you were unable to make decisions for yourself? It is not exactly a scenario any of us like to contemplate, but certainly one we should take seriously. An Alzheimer’s Society report published in 2019 estimated that there are currently around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with this figure projected to reach 1.6 million by 2040.

The only way to choose who we want to make decisions for us, if we are unable to make our own, is to make an LPA. Unlike a general power of attorney, an LPA remains valid even if we lose mental capacity. Making an LPA empowers us with the choice about who would look after our affairs where we simply cannot manage ourselves.

But it is important that we make them in advance. If we reach a stage in our lives where we have lost capacity, without having made an LPA, then our family and friends would have to apply to the Court of Protection for the right to look after things for us – a timely and expensive last-resort process, under which our affairs (and the people chosen to manage them) would continue to be monitored by the court for the duration of our incapacity.

So, we should make our LPA now, while we can, then carry on living knowing who is going to be on our subs’ bench if we ever had to take some time out.

If you need advice on making an Lasting Powers of Attorney or applying to the Court of Protection, please contact Tammie Woods.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.