When we think of incapacity, we think of getting old and/or suffering from dementia. However, it can occur at any age, for example, because of severe learning difficulties, long-term addictions or brain injuries following an accident.
It is therefore important that people prepare for a potential loss of capacity, in advance and whilst they still have capacity to do so, by putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).An LPA is a legal document which allows you to register one or more individuals as your Attorney(s), to act and make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.
Briefly, there are two types of LPA:
1. Property & Financial Affairs
This allows your Attorneys to deal with your property, bank accounts and investments, payment of bills and receipt of benefits, pensions etc on your behalf both whilst you have, and after you may have lost, your mental capacity.
2. Health & Welfare
This can only be used by your Attorneys after you have lost the mental capacity to make decisions about your personal welfare, for example due to illness, unconsciousness, or due to the onset of a condition such as dementia. It allows your Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf, such as the type of care and medical treatment you receive, where you live, and other matters relating to care.
There is a misconception that, should you lose your mental capacity, loved ones can act on your behalf. However, without an LPA in place, an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection for someone to be appointed as a Deputy to act on your behalf. This is a long and expensive process, during which time loved ones will be unable to make any decisions on your behalf.
LPAs provide the peace of mind that your welfare and affairs can and will be managed in a manner and by the people you have chosen. For further information please contact our Private Client team on 0191 384 2441.