Category Archives: News

Coronovirus: Alarming Drop in Mental Capacity

Coronavirus is making life difficult for everyone, but more so for those whose mental capacity is already reduced. Enforced social isolation increases the stresses on everyone and tends to make us feel more anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored as well as lonely and often frustrated. Advisers report an alarming drop in the mental capacity of those who were previously reasonably ok.  

All of these are things which tend to reduce peoples ability to cope with life and to be able to make Lasting Powers of Attorney (which is our mission.) Whether the effects will be wholly lasting or not remains to be seen, but many people will slip beyond the point at which Lasting Powers of Attorney can be set up, leaving an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship as the only remaining route. Bear in mind that only financial Depoutyships are usually granted, leaving Health and Welfare matters in the hands of the Court – and that includes where people live Whether that application is made by the family or by Social Services, it is at the expense of the person suffering reduce mental capacity.

Experience has shown that it is not always easy for people to throw off the yoke of Deputyship even should they fully recover, and when the Deputy is a professional it is likely to be very expensive. Family members may find it difficult to cope with the bureaucratic and record-keeping issues associated with deputyship.

Obviously, everyone over 18 should have Lasting Powers of Attorney (do you?) as misfortune can strike at any time, but here are some tips from the NHS as to how to best keep up your, or a relative, or friends mental capacity:

1) Keep Socially Active

Clearly, that doesn’t mean what it used to. Phone calls, Facebook messages, video calls etc all help. Though the trouble is many older people won’t be up to speed on some of these, so will suffer more.

2) Talk About Your Worries

Very few people are NOT finding the current situation stressful. So talk about your worries and concerns, and encourage the vulnerable to share their worries with you. A worry shared is a worry halved as they say. A little reassurance goes a long way. The Government even has a Chatbot to talk about your worries – why not try it out?
https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=447860064422&text=hi

3. Help and Support Others

Just because you are feeling a bit down doesn’t mean that you can’t join Facebook and other groups and encourage other people. A friendly ear helps others feel it isn’t just them.

4. Finances and Regulations

If finances are a problem, or you are not sure what the recommendations are for social matters, check the Government website for advice. That is what it is there for.

5. Keep Physically Active

The fitter your body is, the more likely your mind is to stay fit too. Resist the urge to be a total couch potato, and get up and walk about. Maybe do some gentle stretches once an hour. Exercise will help you sleep too. Maybe find some gentle exercise videos on Youtube. If you can, do more walking than you would normally, or get on the bike if you are up to it.

6. Do things you enjoy

Reading, listening to music (my favourite), gardening, walking, running.

7) Don’t Listen to Negative Fake News

Go to the Government website o#r the BBC or the NHS for news and suggestions – don’t go to the more sensational newspapers who like to shock you, even if the copy under doesn’t match the sensational headline!

8) Relax

Relaxation techniques can help.

Those are just a few suggestions. if you are feeling really desperate, visit this page?
https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/urgent-support/


Contact us to organise Lasting Powers of Attorney before it is too late. 

97% of eligible carers do not claim ‘carer’s credit’

New FOI reply reveals 97% of eligible carers do not claim ‘carer’s credit’ – Royal London

08 January 2018

A scheme designed to help carers of disabled people build better state pension entitlement has failed to reach 97% of its target group, according to a new Freedom of Information reply from DWP obtained by mutual insurer Royal London.   The FOI reply indicates that just 3,524 people claimed the national insurance credit in 2016/17, compared with an earlier DWP estimate when the scheme was introduced that 160,000 carers could benefit.

Royal London and Carers UK are now calling for a more proactive approach from government to make sure that carers take up these valuable rights.   Royal London estimates that each year of credits would add £237 per year to a carer’s state pension, or over £4,700 over the course of a typical twenty year retirement.   Assuming over 155,000 carers a year are missing out, this creates a total loss in excess of £700m.

In 2010 the government introduced a new system of National Insurance credits to help bridge gaps in National Insurance records.  It was targeted on carers who were spending at least 20 hours caring, affecting their ability to earn enough to pay National Insurance, but who were not entitled to the Carers Allowance for those doing 35 hours per week of caring, and which brings automatic credits for National Insurance.

To qualify for the credit, a person aged under state pension age must be providing 20 hours per week or more of care for a disabled person who is receiving:

  • Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment – daily living component, at the standard or enhanced rate
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

If the person being cared for doesn’t get one of the above benefits, the application has to be signed by a ‘health or social care professional’ such as a GP who can confirm the details on the application.

Steve Webb, Director of Policy, Royal London said:

‘These schemes are introduced with the best of intentions, but they become no more than window-dressing if virtually nobody actually takes them up.  Governments cannot simply hope that people find the information on official websites or rely on the occasional ministerial press release.  It is time for proactive communications with those who are meant to benefit so that far more people get the help to which they are entitled’.

Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers UK said:
‘Caring for more than twenty hours per week has a big impact on someone’s ability to hold down a job and pay National Insurance Contributions.  The carer’s credit is a good scheme but it needs much more effective publicity.  Caring often impacts negatively on health, wellbeing and ability to work and yet carers’ contribution to the economy is worth billions a year.   They should not lose out financially in retirement as well’.

Information on how to claim the carer’s credit can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/carers-credit

Information for carers can be found at: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/financial-support/help-with-your-pension

FINANCIAL IMPACT OF DEMENTIA

RETIREMENT SAVERS ‘FEAR FINANCIAL IMPACT OF DEMENTIA’

 More than two out of five worried about losing control of finances and nearly half worry about their partner

  • But more than half would appoint partner to look after their finances
  • Applications for Lasting Powers of Attorney increase to 650,000 applications a year

Retirement savers are becoming increasingly concerned about the risk of not being able to control their finances because of the onset of dementia but are failing to act, new research* from Key Retirement shows.

The nationwide study by the financial specialist found 43% of over-55s are extremely concerned about the financial impact of suffering dementia in later life rising to nearly half (47%) who worry about their partner being unable to access their money.

But the research among more than 1,000 over-55s shows just one in eight (12%) have acted by setting up Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) to ensure important decisions can still be taken on their behalf. Another 39% say they are considering setting up LPAs but have yet to do so.

The importance of having LPAs in place is growing now that millions of retirement savers and equity release customers may need to manage their finances into later life.

The risks of not having LPAs in place are potentially huge – families will need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order which can typically take many months during which finances can be frozen, or other important decisions may be delayed. The process can also be expensive starting from £400 for an application plus a further £850 + VAT for the work done up to and including the Deputyship Order, and a further £100 for an assessment of the deputy. If no deputy can be found a professional deputy will be appointed and for this the charge will be £1,500 + VAT for the first year, and £1,185 + VAT for each year thereafter.

Key’s study shows more than half (54%) of over-55s would trust their partner or spouse to look after their finances if they were mentally incapacitated while just 28% would trust their son or daughter.

But the study found widespread confusion about what access people have to their spouses’ or partners’ financial or legal affairs without an LPA as the table below shows, headed by 36% thinking that without an LPA they can decide on their healthcare.

ISSUE PERCENTAGE
Decide healthcare for partner 36%
Access bank accounts 26%
Query utility bills in partners’ name 22%
Speak to pension providers 21%
Speak to credit card providers 19%

 

Dean Mirfin, Chief Product Officer at Key Retirement, commented: “Numbers affected by dementia are set to double over the next 25 years and it’s essential that families avoid a costly and time consuming court process.

“Anyone who is taking advantage of pension freedoms or has a drawdown equity release scheme risks having their money frozen if they do not have LPAs until the Court of Protection appoints attorneys. For equity release this means that access to any drawdown facility will be suspended whilst waiting on the court. LPAs are not just about money, they are also about being able to make those important decisions about someone’s healthcare should the need arise.

“Not only is it more cost effective in the long term to do so, you are also ensuring that those who you trust the most are certain to be the ones making important decisions about your finances and your health and welfare when you need them most.”

Data shows around 650,000 applications for LPAs were made last year and around 2.5 million are currently in place**. However around 14,500*** applications are made each year to the Court of Protection.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which gives the person or persons of choice the power to deal with an individual’s affairs. These trusted people will then become legally appointed attorneys and will be able to use these documents to act on the person’s behalf whenever necessary. There are two types – the property and financial affairs LPA covering money and property matters, which can be used at any time and even made temporary use of, and the health and welfare LPA covering healthcare decisions which can only be used if people lose mental capacity.