With an ageing population in England and Wales, mental capacity is increasingly becoming an issue for a wide range of families. Mental capacity is a legal concept which defines a person’s ability to make a specific decision or to do a particular act. If a person loses capacity, safeguards need to be put in place to cater for the eventuality. What are the safeguards?
Preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney
The answer is: preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney, whilst one still has capacity, in anticipation of the possibility that at some point in the future they may lose capacity and be unable to manage their own affairs.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA); one that allows you to delegate responsibility for your financial affairs to a person you trust, the other gives authority to make personal health and welfare decisions on your behalf. For those families who have come to rely upon them, LPA’s have proven to be invaluable. It is highly advisable that if you are drafting your will that you complete the LPA forms at the same time and have these registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It is a valuable tool for the care of the elderly or unwell, whose families will be in need of the advantages it confers.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs allows a donor to grant authority to act on ones behalf in relation to a wide range of matters relating to the donor’s health and welfare. For example:
- Selling the donor’s immovable property
- Drawing money from financial institutions
- Buying a home
The power given must be to a person who is scrupulously honest and trustworthy.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare allows a donor to grant authority to act on ones behalf in relation to a wide range of matters relating to the donor’s health and welfare. For example:
- Where the donor should live and who should he or she live with
- The donor’s day-to-day care, including diet and dres financial institutions
- Who the donor may have contact with
- Consenting to or refusing medical examination and treatment on the donor’s behalf
- Arrangements needed for the donor to be given medical, dental or optical treatment
- Assessments for the provision of community care services
- Whether the donor should take part in social activities, leisure activities, education or training
- The donor’s personal correspondence and papers
- Rights of access to personal information about the donor
- Complaints about the donor’s care or treatment
Do not be deterred, the alternative can be even more unwelcome; just at the moment when a family needs least of all to have to fill out more forms, the lack of an LPA subjects new caregivers to the delays, tedium, uncertainty and expense that attends ongoing dealings with the Court of Protection.