One in three over-65s die with dementia. Please don't assume that relatives can just walk into a bank and access your money, even if it is to pay for your care.
Unless you have a Power of Attorney already, loved ones need to apply through the court, which can be long and costly.
Why set up a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you lose mental capacity, unless you've already filled in the Power of Attorney forms, your relatives or appointed Professional will need to apply through the Court of Protection to become “Deputy”, which is a long and expensive process with ongoing accounts to be completed yearly and to be assessed.
Instead, you can nominate a trusted friend, relative or professional before you lose capacity, by setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). You can appoint one or more representatives to act for you, and can determine how they work together to make decisions on your behalf.
You may be thinking "this doesn't affect us; we're perfectly well". This is a common misunderstanding. The key thing to remember is...
You can only set up a Lasting Power of Attorney when you have mental capacity. Once you've lost capacity, it's too late.
What to do next
The action to take depends on the situation. We use the word 'they' below for simplicity, but, of course, you can set up a Power of Attorney for yourself as well.
If they still have capacity:
This is the best time to act. If the person still has capacity and would like to make arrangements in case they lose mental capacity, they can set up a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Once submitted, it takes up to ten weeks to register. The power will be effective as soon as the LPA is registered, so the attorney will be able to start making decisions straight away, unless they specify otherwise on the application.
If they've lost capacity:
If a spouse, relative or friend already has limited mental capacity, but didn't set up Power of Attorney in advance, it becomes more onerous. You need to become a Deputy of the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.
If you require any advice or assistance regarding Lasting Powers of Attorneys, please contact our office. A member of staff will be happy to assist with your enquiries.
0191 378 7620