The Office of the Public Guardian, Age UK, and Dementia UK have explored the crucial yet often challenging discussions about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
They have provided five top tips for starting a conversation with family and friends about LPAs as follows:
Think in advance about the best time and place to start the conversation. Finding a place where everyone feels comfortable and can talk for as long as you need to, can help with getting the conversation off to the right start. It can be useful to bring a few key facts, to explain more about what an LPA is, the different types, and how to set one up.
Have an open conversation
Having an open conversation involves discussing all the options, without any expectations. Give everyone time and space to express their views and feelings and ask questions. Listen to each other without judging and consider choices around finances, health and welfare.
Respect each other’s choices
Many people may feel anxious talking about LPAs. Always respect each other’s choices. If a family member or friend does not want to talk about making an LPA, respect their choice. Remind each other, you can have this conversation another time when everyone is ready. Remember, as a donor it is your choice who you appoint as your attorneys.
Start the conversation early
Early discussions result in considered and informed decisions. Avoiding the discussion or leaving it too late can make things more difficult. You can only make an LPA if you have the mental capacity to do so. It’s about putting things in place to make things easier later on.
Take time to find out more
Try not to give too much information about making an LPA all at once. After all, there may be many things to consider at length and too much information in one go can be overwhelming. Instead, note where more information can be found, either online at gov.uk/opg or by printing off information for them.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK Charity Director said:
“It can give enormous peace of mind to know someone you trust can act for you in the event you are ever unable to make your own decisions. At the same time, we know, conversations about making an LPA, with loved ones or others, are not always easy. It might be hard to talk about money, health and welfare decisions and the possibility of being unable to make their own decisions in the future. Sometimes it is difficult to know where to start.”
Sue Kirkup, Dementia UK Admiral Nurse said:
“Having an open discussion together enables family members to express their wishes. LPAs help families and healthcare professionals make informed decisions which represent the best interests of their loved one and ensures a person-centred approach. Having an LPA helps avoids confusion and uncertainty in the future. It can reduce the pressure on family members when the time comes to making difficult decisions”.