The Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows a trusted person to make decisions for someone, should they lose capacity to do so.
If an individual is diagnosed with dementia, we recommend they sign a LPA if they can.
Without an LPA, it can be very difficult for friends and family to help. The document means others can deal with property, finances and healthcare.
Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney
There are two types of LPA – one deals with property and financial affairs, the other with health and welfare.
You can make one or both types of LPA, appointing attorneys to deal with your affairs.
A property and financial affairs LPA allows your attorney to deal with your bank account, pay bills on your behalf, sell your home, invest your money and claim benefits.
With a health and welfare LPA, your attorney can make decisions regarding your care, including where you will live and what medical treatments you will have. This can include refusing some life-sustaining treatment.
Limiting the powers
Your attorney will not be able to use the health and welfare LPA until you are no longer able to make your own decisions. You can, if you wish, limit your attorney’s power when signing the LPA and to specify what you would like to happen in the future.
Signing an LPA if you have dementia
If a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it is still possible to make a Lasting Powers of Attorney provided they have the mental capacity to do so.
This means that the person in question must be able to:
- Understand the implications and consequences of signing
- Remember what they have been told about the LPA for long enough to make a decision about whether or not to sign
- Consider the options and make their own decision
- Communicate their decision
If someone has had a dementia diagnosis, it is often a good idea to have medical confirmation that they have adequate mental capacity to sign an LPA to avoid any disputes or misunderstandings over the validity of their LPA arising in the future.
What happens if you do not have an LPA?
Without an LPA, you would need to apply for a deputyship order from the Court of Protection. This would enable you to deal with someone’s affairs if they lose the ability to do this.
Even if you are married to someone, you don’t automatically have the right to make decisions on their behalf.
Obtaining a deputyship order is a more long-winded process as it can leave families in a difficult position while the application is dealt with and also requires more ongoing supervision by the Court of Protection.
If someone has a dementia diagnosis, we do recommend an LPA is put in place as this can make matters much easier where plans have been made.
Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team can help you put an LPA in place. Contact us today on 01772 799 600.