Mental capacity is in the news a lot, whether it’s a discussion about our ageing population or an increase in people living with dementia. But is there anything you can do to future proof your mental capacity?
Unfortunately, you can’t predict whether you will lose mental capacity in the future and whether you will be unable to make your own decisions in relation to your finances, your health and wellbeing. However, you can ensure that the right provisions are in place so that someone can make decisions on your behalf should you need it.
You can do this by putting Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place. LPAs are documents which appoint someone, or some people (known as your attorneys), you trust to make decisions on your behalf in the future if you lose capacity. Any decisions or actions your attorneys take will have to be made in your best interests and they should consult you and help you make decisions yourself, if possible.
There are two types of LPA – one for property and financial affairs and one for health and welfare. The Property and Financial Affairs LPA will allow your attorneys to manage your finances and property. The Health and Welfare LPA will allow your attorneys to make decisions about where you live, what you eat, who cares for you and even your end of life care.
LPAs are important and useful documents which can be put in place now, to ensure that the people you trust can act on your behalf in the future.
If you lost capacity without an LPA in place it could cause practical difficulties for your loved ones who want to help you. For example, there might not be anyone able to access your bank accounts if you lost capacity which could mean that your care fees or ongoing living costs could not be paid. Your loved ones would then have to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your deputy. This is a detailed, expensive and time consuming process. It could take six or more months for a deputyship order to be granted. In the meantime, your finances would not be managed and you could have unpaid debts mounting up, which would put additional, unnecessary stress on your loved ones.
By preparing and registering LPAs now you can be reassured that, if you did lose capacity, your attorneys would be able to use them immediately to act on your behalf.
Preparing LPAs now is like putting in place an insurance policy, we hope you will never have to use them, but they are there for peace of mind.
We can advise you on your LPAs and guide you through the process. For more information please contact Katie Watts at Raworths LLP: firstname.lastname@example.org