Dementia and power of attorney
According to the Alzheimer's Society, there are over 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and of those, nearly 40,000 are under the age of 65. As this number is expected to exceed 1 million by the year 2025, our expert solicitors are urging the public to think of the future – regardless of their age.
No one wants to have to think about what would happen should we lose our mental capacity, nor about the financial burdens this would place on ourselves and our loved ones. But with the figures presented by the Alzheimer's society, it is worth considering how you could prevent any further distress, financial and otherwise through a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Power of attorney after a dementia diagnosis
If you have been diagnosed with dementia it does not mean that you can no longer make important decisions for yourself. However, there may come a time when you can no longer make decisions about important matters such as finances, your welfare or medical treatment. By organising your affairs, such as Lasting Power of Attorney and making or updating your Will, as soon as you get a diagnosis you can help ensure that your wishes are respected.
At Stephensons, we are dementia champions and our staff have been trained to understand the needs of our clients who are suffering from dementia. For more information contact us today on 0203 837 3658.
How to get power of attorney when someone has dementia?
If your parent, partner or relative have dementia and are no longer able to make decisions for themselves and no Lasting Power of Attorney has been made then you will have to make a ‘deputyship’ application to the Court of Protection. If the application is successful, then a person is appointed as deputy or decision-maker for the one who lacks the mental capacity to make their own decisions. Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be made once the person concerned has been deemed to lose mental capacity.
The Court of Protection makes its decisions based on the Mental Capacity Act and there are two areas of decision making that are taken into consideration:
- Property and financial affairs
- Personal welfare
Making a deputyship application can be costly and take around five to six months.
Can a person with dementia change their power of attorney?
If the person with dementia is deemed to have mental capacity then they can change their power of attorney or revoke it altogether, however, once they have lost the mental capacity then it is unlikely, they will be allowed to make any changes to their power of attorney.
Lasting Power of Attorney FAQs
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal tool that enables a person you trust, such as a family member to make important decisions about your health and welfare and your financial affairs on your behalf, should you be unable to make these decisions due to the loss of mental capacity.
Why should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
It is vital that you set up a Lasting Power of Attorney sooner rather than later, and while you are still mentally capable of doing so. If you are injured or develop an illness that may leave you mentally incapacitated and you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, you run the risk of forcing your loved ones into potentially long, distressing and delayed court battles as they seek to take control of your finances.
Can you appoint more than one person to have power of attorney?
You can have as many attorneys as you like, but for administrative ease, we suggest that you have no more than four. You can also appoint replacement attorneys.
Are there different types of Lasting Power of Attorney?
Yes, there are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney. One deals with property and finances, whilst the other deals with health and welfare.
Lasting Power of Attorney dealing with property and financial matters are used to pass the power of attorney over to a family member or someone you trust, so they can make decisions for you and on your behalf about financial issues. They would be then allowed to make decisions regarding selling your house, dealing with any benefits, your bank accounts or investments. They would also be allowed to pay bills on your behalf.
The Lasting Power of Attorney that deals with health and welfare aspects, such as where you live, whether in care or otherwise, what you can eat and even the clothes you wear.
The major difference between the two-Lasting Power of Attorney’s is that the financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can be used whilst the person still has the mental capacity to deal with these affairs themselves – if they chose so. The health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney only comes into effect when the person loses that capacity.
What sort of finances can be paid by a person with power of attorney?
Your attorneys can deal with all aspects of your property and financial affairs using the Lasting Power of Attorney unless you expressly exclude them dealing with a particular asset. For example, if you have a particularly expensive art collection you may wish to state an instruction or preference that they take professional valuation advice before they act in relation to the collection. An instruction must be followed, whilst a preference is just that.
Can I choose when a Lasting Power of Attorney comes into effect?
Yes, you can choose whether your Lasting Power of Attorney can be used before you lose mental capacity or stipulate that it can only come into effect once you lose the capacity to deal with finances or things like your own welfare.
What is the role of the Office of Public Guardianship and what might need to be referred to this organisation?
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is an executive agency who protect the interests of those who lack capacity. They deal with the registration of the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs) and a major part of their function is to centralise records of dealings with and protection of the vulnerable. The OPG operates a register of LPA's and if an original is lost then further copies can be issued. As part of their safeguarding role if anyone has any concerns in relation to an attorney’s actions or if they believe that the donor is in some way vulnerable then these concerns can be reported to the OPG and they will make enquiries.
How do I set up a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Contact the expert solicitors at Stephensons today. Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place ensures that you and your family are protected from any distressing legal battles as they will be allowed, by law, to look after your best interests immediately following the event you lose the mental capacity to deal with those aspects yourself.
For expert advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney, call the specialist solicitors at Stephensons on 0203 837 3658 today or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.
Lasting Power of Attorney fees: a price guide
At Stephensons, we offer fixed priced Lasting Power of Attorney services:
Single person - Lasting Power of Attorney (property and finances or health and welfare) - £470 plus VAT
Single person - Lasting Power of Attorney (property and finances and health and welfare) - £940 plus VAT
Couple - Lasting Power of Attorney (property and finances or health and welfare) - £630 plus VAT
Couple - Lasting Power of Attorney (property and finances and health and welfare) - £1,260 plus VAT
Home and hospital visits are £75.00 plus VAT per visit plus 45 pence per mile plus VAT.
Please note that our fixed or estimated fees for Wills and Probate work are based upon a matter having standard features. They give an indication of the likely range of prices in most instances. However if your matter has non-standard features such as complex property, family relationships, dispositions or risks, then we may not be able to assist you for the fees shown on our website. In that instance we may give you an alternative fee quote based on hourly rates or further fixed or estimated fees.
The advice provided to non-face to face clients will be through electronic or written communication only e.g. by telephone and email. Stephensons Solicitors LLP assumes no responsibility for, and shall not be liable for, (a) verification of mental capacity or testamentary capacity (b) verification of any undue influence or duress involved (c) the execution of any documents.