None of us can know what will happen to us in the future. It’s a scary thought but we may lose mental capacity and not be in a sane or appropriate state to make important, and potentially life changing, decisions.
Do you know what would happen from a legal point of view and how you can protect yourself should this ever happen?
What does ‘Mental Capacity’ mean?
Mental capacity means the ability to make or communicate specific decisions at the time they need to be made. To have mental capacity you must understand the decision you need to make, why you need to make it, and the likely outcome of your decision.
If you lose mental capacity you may need someone to represent you and make decisions for you.
There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to act on your behalf, these are:
- This could just be a temporary situation: for example, if you’re in hospital and need help with everyday tasks such as paying bills.
- You may need to make longer-term plans if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia and you may lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.
What does a Lasting Power of Attorney do?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables a person you trust, such as a family member or otherwise, to make important decisions about your health and welfare and/or your financial affairs on your behalf, should you be unable to make these decisions due to the loss of mental capacity.
A LPA enables you to again take control whilst you still do have mental capacity and nominate those who you trust to manage your financial affairs and ensure that any care fees are paid, for example.
It is a common scenario where a person hasn’t made a LPA and then loses capacity. In those circumstances it is too late to then make a LPA and instead those left caring for an individual must embark on a lengthy and expensive application to the Court of Protection.
Do not assume that if you are married or in a civil partnership that your spouse would automatically be able to deal with your bank account and pensions, and make decisions about your healthcare, if you lose the ability to do so. This is not the case. Without an LPA, they won’t have the authority.
If you also arrange a Health and Welfare LPA, your attorneys can protect your interests by having authority to make decisions (and perhaps challenge decisions) about what medical treatment is in your best interests. This could include negotiating about the right care package for you.
If you are looking to assign a LPA Howells can help. We are normal, down to earth people and can support you to create a Will and make special arrangements for your family.
For more information on our LPA services see Lasting Powers of Attorney;
For FAQ’s on Lasting Powers of Attorneys see here.
You can email Howells to make an appointment at [email protected], visit our website or call us:
Sheffield: 0114 249 66 66
Barnsley: 0122 680 51 90
Rotherham: 0170 936 40 00
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