It’s something we all take for granted but what happens to us when we lose our mental capacity?
Nowadays, progressive mental illnesses, such as dementia, mean that whilst we may be in good physical health, our mental health can rapidly decline and we can quickly lose the mental capacity to deal with our financial affairs. If this happens and there is no Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place, it can be a very costly and lengthy process involving the Court where decisions will need to be made on your behalf by another party. Often, this may be someone who does not know you such as Social Services and has no idea about your wishes and feelings. This person, known as a Deputy, may also be able to charge certain fees for looking after your property and affairs and would have the power to sell your home to pay for any care home fees if this were necessary.
However, if you were to give power to another person (your attorney) whilst you still had the capacity to do so, this would be registered in advance with the Court and if you were ever to lose the capacity to deal with your own property or financial affairs, then the process for your attorney to step in and do so would be very straightforward. Your attorney can be a family member, friend or a solicitor.
As well as making decisions about finances, you can give the power to your attorney to make decisions about your own health and welfare. This is equally important, especially if you have strong views about whether you wish to move to a care home or want to remain in your own home for as long as possible. Also, you can express your wishes about whether or not you wish to receive life sustaining treatment.
Having the power now to specify your wishes can mean that you have some degree of control over your financial affairs and matters concerning your own health and welfare. The LPA once registered, can also be used immediately, if you would prefer for your attorney to deal with certain matters on your behalf straight away.
At Chilcotts Law, we have the experience and expertise to help you in this specialist area of practice. If you would like more information about creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, please feel free to call us to speak with one of our team.