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Power of attorney in relation to dementia

If your spouse or an elderly relative or friend has been diagnosed with dementia, it can be a very difficult time. A dementia diagnosis in itself doesn’t necessarily mean that your loved one has already lost the mental capacity to make their own decisions about things such as finances or property, as this will depend on the progression of their condition.

Taking steps to sort out details like a Lasting Power of Attorney after a dementia diagnosis is often something that your loved one can do, unless their condition has progressed to the stage where they lack the mental capacity to decide things such as who should make financial decisions on their behalf.

However, if your loved one is no longer able to make these types of decisions for themselves, you are unable to obtain a power of attorney. Instead, you will need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order so that you can legally make decisions about your relative or friend’s care, money or assets.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney. One for decisions relating to finances and property, and the other in relation to decisions about health and welfare. It is common for the same people to be chosen as attorney for both types, but it is possible to nominate different people if required.

 

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FAQs on getting power of attorney for dementia

We have compiled some of the most common questions that we are asked about power of attorney in relation to dementia. If you can’t find the answer to your question below, our team will be happy to help you find the information that you need. Please get in touch by calling 01616 966 229.

How to get power of attorney over someone with dementia

If you’re wondering how to get power of attorney for an elderly parent with dementia, or another relative or friend with the condition, it will primarily depend on how far the dementia has progressed. If the parent, relative or friend has the capacity to fully understand and make informed decisions on their own behalf about important issues like their finances and care, they can make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This should always be done with expert legal advice in order for the documents to be valid and appropriately registered.

Lasting Powers of Attorney need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and cannot be used until this has been done.

Is it possible to get Power of attorney for a spouse with dementia?

If your husband or wife has been diagnosed with dementia but still has the capacity to make important decisions regarding things like their finances and property, or their care needs, they can nominate you as their attorney to make future decisions on their behalf, when they are no longer able to, with a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Can a dementia patient revoke power of attorney?

If the person with a dementia diagnosis has already chosen someone to be their attorney in their Lasting Power of Attorney, but then changes their mind about the person, it is usually possible for them to revoke it, if they still have the mental capacity to do so. They will need a solicitor to do this, and a medical report may be required to ascertain that they currently have the mental capacity to make this decision.

If someone has dementia and no power of attorney in the UK, who can make decisions on their behalf?

If someone has been diagnosed with dementia, has no valid Lasting Power of Attorney in place and is deemed to have mental capacity to make importance decisions, they can usually still put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. However, if their condition has progressed to the point where they are not able to make informed decisions for themselves, the spouse, relative or friend can apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. If the application is successful, they will then be able to make important decisions on behalf of the person with dementia, in their best interests.

Can someone with dementia sign a power of attorney?

If the person who has been diagnosed with dementia is considered to have the mental capacity to choose someone to have power of attorney, they can sign the necessary documents, with legal assistance to submit them to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration. If their condition has progressed to the stage where they are no longer deemed capable of making this type of decision, the spouse, relative or friend would need to instead apply for a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection, so that they can legally make decisions on behalf of the dementia sufferer.

What is the difference between a Lasting Power of Attorney and a Deputyship Order for someone with dementia?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is where the person with a dementia diagnosis still has the mental capacity to make important decisions for themselves and can nominate someone to make these types of decisions on their behalf when their condition has progressed to the stage where they no longer can. The process for Lasting Power of Attorney is often quite straightforward.

A Deputyship Order is needed when the dementia sufferer is no longer deemed to have the mental capacity to make their own informed decisions about things such as their finances, assets or future care. A relative or friend can apply for a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection, which will allow them to make decisions on the behalf of, and in the best interests of, the person with dementia. Obtaining a Deputyship Order can be complex and take a considerable amount of time. It is generally recommended that if someone is diagnosed with dementia and still has decision-making mental capacity at that point, they should move quickly to choose a person or persons to have Lasting Power of Attorney. This will mean that no further action is needed when their condition does progress to the point that they need someone else to make decisions on their behalf.

Can someone with Lasting Power of Attorney make decisions if the person with dementia still has capacity themselves?

This will depend on the type of Lasting Power of Attorney that is in place. In the case of a Lasting Power of Attorney in relation to finances and property, once it has been registered, the person who made it can choose to allow decisions to be made on their behalf from that point onwards, even if their dementia has not progressed yet to the point where they have lost mental capacity.

In the case of a Lasting Power of Attorney that relates to their health and welfare, decisions of this nature can only be made on behalf of the dementia sufferer when they have lost mental capacity. Until this point, they will make decisions about their health, care and any other related needs themselves.

If you want any more information on Lasting Power of Attorney or have any questions about the process, the experienced team at Stephensons will be happy to help. Call us today on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.

Further information

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.
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