To ensure that the people you trust are able to make decisions on your behalf when you cannot, it is important to plan ahead and have the appropriate documents in place. This is why we advise many of our clients to make lasting powers of attorney (LPA).
At Gepp Solicitors, we will advise you on the choices open to you to ensure your chosen attorneys can deal with your affairs should you ever lose mental capacity. You may think it is only necessary to consider this later in life; however, incapacity can arise through accident or illness and is not limited to the elderly.
What is a LPA?
A LPA does not prevent you from managing your own affairs whilst you are able. It does, however, ensure that you have appointed attorney(s) who can make decisions on your behalf. It is also possible to appoint initial attorneys and replacements on the same form.
There are two types of LPA:-
Financial decisions - this will give your chosen attorney(s) authority to deal with your property and finances. You can choose to allow attorneys to have this ability immediately so that both they and you can manage your affairs but whilst you have capacity they must do so with your consent. You can choose to limit their power so they can only ever act when you are mentally unable to do so yourself; and
Health and care decisions - this will allow your chosen attorney(s) to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf, but only when you lack the mental capacity to do so yourself. This could also extend, if you wish, to giving or refusing consent to the continuation of life-sustaining treatment.
What is an enduring power of attorney (EPA)?
The EPA was replaced by the LPA on the 1st of October 2007. EPAs only covered property and financial decisions and did not allow for replacement attorneys.
If you already have an EPA, you may want to consider changing this to a financial LPA to provide for replacement attorneys. At the same time, you may also wish to consider a health and care decision LPA.
If you do not have either a LPA or an EPA in place and you lose capacity then a deputy can be appointed by the court of protection.
Deputyships can be put in place for both property and financial affairs and health and care decisions. Both types of order are obtained from the court, however, whilst the court appears content to issues orders in relation to financial matters, those for health and care are rarely granted.
Deputyship applications can take several months to complete and the process is more costly than putting the relevant LPAs in place. The choice of deputy will be at the court's discretion and may therefore not be the person(s) you would choose to manage your affairs.
We are happy to assist with deputyship applications where someone does not have an appropriate LPA or EPA in place and has lost the mental capacity to manage their own affairs.
Specialist solicitors for the elderly
We offer specialist legal advice for the elderly and families living with dementia.
As one of the most established and experienced elderly care solicitors in the region, we understand how difficult it can be to come to terms with the diagnosis of dementia and other mental health conditions. Our team are highly qualified solicitors help clients who have life-changing diagnoses and work hard to look for positive legal solutions for the future. For more information, visit our dementia information page, where you can find access to resources and more information about what our team can do to help you plan for the future.
Find out more on our power of attorney services in Chelmsford and Colchester
If you want to find out more about the services we can offer you, please feel free to get in touch with our probate solicitors in Chelmsford and Colchester or call the private client department on 01245 228125.