Dementia and the use of Powers of Attorney and the Court of Protection
It is estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men over the age of 55 will develop dementia during their lifetime. With this in mind, at Jennifer Melly law when advising on the preparation of Wills we also suggest that people consider planning for their lifetime and the possibility that they may need help to make decisions and/ or manage their affairs during their latter years.
Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) can be prepared to legally appoint a person or persons to manage your finances and make decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. There are two types of LPA as follows:-
- Health and Welfare LPA– this allows your attorneys to make decisions about your medical treatment, how you are cared for or where you live. It can also give them power to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment if desired. This type of LPA is only used if you lack capacity to make decisions yourself.
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA – this gives your attorneys power to manage your finances, so they can pay bills for you, sell your property and deal with your bank accounts. Whilst you still have capacity to make decisions your attorney can act under your instruction, however, should you lose capacity they can continue to act and make decisions for you in your best interests.
We advise that consideration is given to preparing LPAs while fit and well to ensure that the persons you choose are legally able to act on your behalf. Although many people believe that they can put the document in place as and when they suffer ill health, this may not be possible if the illness is sudden or severe.
Court of Protection
If you lack the capacity to prepare an LPA then in order for anyone to be able to make decisions for you and deal with your finances they would need to apply to the Court of Protection to act as your deputy. Anyone can apply to the court to act on your behalf and this may not necessarily be the person or persons you would choose yourself. This type of application can be expensive and time consuming and in the meantime no one would have access to your money. This can cause difficulties financially and can be very stressful for those close to you.
If you would like advice on any of the above matters then please contact us for further information. Our offices are based in Neath and Cardiff and we also offer home visits for those who are unable to come in to see us. Our staff are friendly and approachable and aim to put our clients at ease whilst providing a professional and expert service.