Your Options Without a Lasting Power of Attorney
26 Feb 2019
Who can make decisions on your behalf?
According to the Office of the Public Guardian Annual Report, in 2017/2018 the number of Lasting Powers of Attorney registered by the Court was 770,995.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document that enables an individual (the donor) to appoint a person, or persons, to handle their affairs in the event that they are unable to do so themselves.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney; one to deal with the management of financial matters and the other to make decisions regarding an individual’s health and welfare.
In 2018 there were over 530,000 people living in the UK with diagnosed dementia, a figure which is expected to rise over the years due to the successful treatment of illness and subsequent increase in life expectancy. For people living with dementia, or those who have become incapacitated due to an injury or degenerative disease, the management of their financial affairs can become an overwhelming burden.
In these circumstances a Lasting Power of Attorney can be invaluable both to the individual, but also their friends and family who, if appointed as attorney, will be able to adopt the management of their health and financial affairs, ensuring protection for the individual and the relief of stress and worry for all parties.
All decisions made by an attorney must be made in the best interests of the donor. However, preferences and instructions can be included within a Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that an individual’s wishes are adhered to and to guide an attorney when making important decisions.
What happens if a Lasting Power of Attorney has not been prepared?
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be prepared by the donor whilst they have full, mental capacity. If an individual has not created a Lasting Power of Attorney and then loses capacity, due to illness or injury, an application will need to be made to The Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to manage the affairs of the individual.
The deputy can only act in accordance with the Deputyship Order set out by the Court of Protection. Furthermore, the Court rarely appoints a deputy to make decisions regarding an individual’s health and welfare.
Unfortunately, a Deputyship application can be both costly and time consuming, during a period when finances and care decisions need to be made quickly. The Family Court Statistics show that between January to September 2018 over 23,000 applications under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 were made to the Court of Protection, of which nearly 50% were Deputyship applications.
The high volume of applications means that a Deputyship Order can take months to obtain. In comparison, a Lasting Power of Attorney is usually registered within 6-8 weeks from its application to the Court.
Nevertheless, a Deputyship Order can be an invaluable instrument for families anxious to assist loved ones and assume responsibility for the administration of financial matters, when the preparation of a Lasting Power of Attorney is no longer an option.
How can Williams Thompson Solicitors help?
Whatever stage of the process, our experienced Private Client team can offer assistance and advice regarding the preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney and the drafting of a Deputyship Order to submit to the Court.
Speak to a member of our team about the preparation of a Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputyship Application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01202 484242.
You can find more information about our Lasting Power of Attorney service here: https://williamsthompson.co.uk/wills-and-probate/lasting-powers-of-attorney/