Making decisions for people with dementia
There are over 800,000 people in the UK suffering from dementia and the Mental Capacity Act 2005 governs how decisions are made for those with dementia and other mental health conditions.
The Act was brought in to ensure that people are empowered to make decisions for themselves where they can, or where they cannot then decisions made on their behalf are made in their best interests.
Unless a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney has been prepared then no one has the power to make decisions for someone or to manage their money, even close relatives such as a spouse or children. Even joint bank accounts should not be used once a person loses mental capacity.
In order to deal with their finances those close to them can apply to the court of protection to act as their ‘deputy’ in order to manage their finances for them. Anyone can apply and in the event of a dispute the court would decide who should act.
Where a person has not made a will then it is possible that an application be made to the court to have a will put in place for them.
If a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare decisions has not been prepared then applications can also be made to act as a deputy to make decisions for a person in relation to their health and welfare. This is far less common and these orders are granted in limited circumstances.
It is more usual for very significant decisions only to be made by the court and any day to day decisions are made by those closest to the person, their carers and any professionals involved at what is called a ‘best interests’ meeting. The types of things considered in these meetings are the persons care, medical treatment or where they should live.
Jennifer Melly law act as deputies and attorneys for a number of people and can advise and assist in making applications to the Court of Protection.
Making Lasting Powers of Attorney whilst still fit and well is a good idea so that if you ever suffer from dementia the people you choose will be able to make decisions for you without the need to apply to the court.
Please contact us on 01639 630057 for further information or advice.