To assist someone with their affairs (whether related to their finances or to health matters), you must hold the legal powers to do so. The route you will need to take will depend on the mental capacity of the person you are seeking to help.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows the donor (the person making the LPA) to choose another individual or individuals (attorney/s) to make decisions on their behalf about their property and financial affairs and/or their health and welfare, at a time when they are no longer able to make those decisions themselves.
In order to enter into an LPA, the donor must have the required mental capacity to do so. A diagnosis of Dementia does not automatically mean that the person concerned does not have the mental capacity to enter into a LPA but it does mean is that time is of the essence and you need to act now.
If necessary, confirmation of capacity should be determined by a medical practitioner in the first instance. Should the person concerned have the required mental capacity, there are two types of LPA which can be made: Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare.
The following types of decision can be made under these LPAs:
Property & Financial Affairs
- Buying and selling a house
- Managing investments
- Running a business
- Accessing and using bank accounts
- Paying bills
Health & Welfare
- Treatment and care the donor receives
- Decisions as to where the donor lives and with whom
- Day-to-day matters such as diet and daily routine
- Give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment
The process of obtaining an LPA involves the completion of the relevant document which then needs to be registered with the Office of Public Guardian.
Loss of mental capacity
If it has been confirmed that your family member does not have the mental capacity to enter into an LPA, then an application to the Court of Protection will need to be made on their behalf to appoint a Deputy.
A Deputy is a person (or person’s) appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of an individual who lacks the mental capacity to do so themselves. The Deputy is usually a friend or relative but in some circumstances, it could be a professional such as a solicitor or an accountant.
There are two types of deputyship application;
Property and affairs deputyship
The most common type of deputyship application is for property and affairs where the court appoints a deputy to manage a person’s property and financial affairs. A financial deputy must complete and return a deputy report form to the Court of Protection on the anniversary of the deputy’s appointment, confirming money spent during that year, assets, income and any significant decisions made on that person’s behalf.
Health and Welfare deputyship
A Deputyship Order for Health and Welfare is rare. Deputies are usually only appointed in complex situations in relation to specific decisions rather than a blanket Order for general welfare.
When a loved one is diagnosed with Dementia, it is a difficult time for everyone concerned but it is vital that families have discussions and act sooner rather than later to put in place an LPA if that is still an option.
It is important to highlight that families should not wait for a diagnosis to act but instead start the conversation today and put in place LPA’s now and have the peace of mind that your family are ready and able to manage your affairs.
If you would like to learn more about putting an LPA in place or appointing a deputy, please get in touch with Kate Norris on 01225 750 000 or email email@example.com.