Haroon Qayum, Head of Private Client at Blackhams Solicitors, offers his advice on the importance of making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
We must face up to the possibility of future events which may be unwelcome. This includes the possibility of becoming unable to make decisions for ourselves due to physical or mental incapacity, whether brought on by an accident, illness or old age.
Lasting Power of Attorney
What would happen if you lost capacity through illness or through a sudden injury?
How would your bills be paid? Who would decide what medical treatment you will have?
By making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) you can give someone (your Attorney) you know and trust your express authority to deal with your affairs if you are unable to do this yourself. An LPA cannot be used until it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. It can cover either your financial affairs, or decisions that may need to be made about your health and personal welfare (e.g. medical treatment, care and so on) or both.
Making an LPA is sensible planning
What if I do not have an LPA and need help in the future?
If you do not have an LPA and become unable to deal with your own affairs due to a loss of mental capacity, the process of appointing someone to stand in your place (and be your Court-appointed Deputy) can be cumbersome and costly.
There may be a period where no-one is officially appointed to assist you, during which time anyone trying to assist on your behalf will be doing so without the appropriate authority. This could create difficulty and distress for you and your family. Appointing an attorney under an LPA is much less expensive and gives you and your family peace of mind for the future.
There are two types of LPA.
Property and Affairs LPA
Enables an attorney to make decisions about a Donor’s property and financial affairs.
These might include:
- Buying or selling property
- Operating a bank or building society account
- Managing investments
- Claiming benefits
- Paying household expenses
- Paying residential or nursing home fees
Health and Welfare LPA
Allows an attorney to make decision about the Donor’s personal welfare if the time comes where they are unable to make decisions for themselves. These decisions may be about:
- Where the Donor lives
- The Donor’s daily care
- Arranging for dental treatment
- Consenting to or refusing medical treatment
- Access to the Donor’s medical records
- Overseeing medical and mental assessments.
An LPA is therefore a very important part of planning for the future. The time may come when we need a helping hand to make those decisions that were once commonplace. Having an LPA in place makes that process so much easier to use and less stressful.
If you or a relative would like further information on LPA’s or how we can help you, please get in touch
If someone loses their mental capacity and becomes unable to make decisions, but has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney, it may be necessary for a Deputy to be appointed by the Court of Protection.
Court of Protection
The Court of Protection is an independent judicial body which is responsible for making decisions relating to those individuals who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. These decisions can relate to property and finance and questions of health and welfare. If there is a need for on-going decisions to be made, the Court may appoint a Deputy and provide them with the powers to make these decisions.
The Court of Protection is responsible for:-
- Deciding if an individual has the mental capacity to make a decision for themselves
- Appointing family members or friends as Deputies on behalf of the individual who lacks mental capacity
- Giving permission to people to make one-off decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity
- Making decisions on Lasting Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney
Court of Protection and Deputyship is a specialised area. Please contact a member of our team for practical advice through every step of the process.
For further information and advice on how we can help you, please contact Timothy Cuthbertson or Haroon Qayum
Direct Dial:- 0121 233 6902
Direct Dial:- 0121 233 6903