Scary Statistics – Incapacity and an LPA
…not enough people protecting themselves with an LPA
Statistics* show that people are not taking action to write a Health and Welfare LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney). This is despite ongoing discussions about the benefits of having planned for a time when you might not have the capacity to make decisions about your own future.
The figures show that there are 12.8 million people over the age of 65 who run the risk of developing dementia and less than 1 million (928,000) Health & Welfare LPAs registered with the Office of Public Guardian in England and Wales.
Given that dementia is only one of the possible causes of incapacity it is frightening that the numbers are so low. Other events which can affect a person’s Capacity include accident, stroke and heart attack. Incapacity is the legal term for the time when someone is no longer in a position to take coherent decisions for themselves.
The causes for the low numbers of registered LPAs are many and varied but include such things as:
Fear – many people are fearful of both the time when they can’t make their own decisions and of discussing that prospect with family and friends
Ignorance – some people believe that their family members will ‘automatically’ be empowered to make decisions on their behalf. So looking further for legal remedies is deemed unnecessary
Cost – concerns that the cost of the preparation and registration of LPAs may be prohibitive
It will take years, possibly decades, before the full message about planning for ‘end of life’ becomes accepted wisdom for the majority of people. However, for those who are researching now, it is important that the right messages can reach them…
Fear isn’t a great reason to delay the process. You may be uncomfortable thinking about the discussion you might have with your children or grandchildren. But everyone we talk to has said that once the discussion is started it is much easier and less stressful than expected.
If you got this far through this article Ignorance isn’t something you need to worry about. If you have started looking, then there is plenty of material available online, in local libraries, in advice centres, and from professional advisors to help you to know how to proceed.
Cost may be a problem for some people. Finding the cash to pay for an LPA to be prepared and registered can be difficult. But, the cost of LPAs is considerably lower than the alternative which may be going through the Court of Protection to resolve issues.
*Statistics were published in 2018 by Solicitors for the Elderly “SFE”, and also the independent think tank, Centre for Future Studies.