How would you cope if your loved one lost mental capacity?

Posted by Val Prosser

Senior Associate

What would happen if you or your loved one became incapable of making decisions? How would you cope? How would your family cope?

It would be a difficult time for you all to come to terms with the emotion of the illness let alone having the strain and worry about the payment of bills. A Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs would alleviate these concerns. It allows you to appoint an Attorney or Attorneys to deal with all your financial affairs on your behalf if you become incapable of dealing with such matters yourself.

There is also a separate Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare which appoints an Attorney or Attorneys to make decisions in respect of your personal welfare and also allows your attorney to make life sustaining treatment decisions for you.

The Attorneys you appoint must be someone you can trust and be prepared to take on this responsibility. They must always act in your best interest. The Lasting Power of Attorney has to be registered with the Court of Protection before the Attorney can act on your behalf.

The Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney will enable the Attorney to deal with your financial affairs both if you have capacity and if you should lack capacity in the future. The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney only comes into effect if you should lose capacity.

If you  do not complete a Lasting Power of Attorney or have not completed an Enduring Power of Attorney in the past then if you should lose your mental faculties, life becomes very difficult in dealing with financial institutions.  You or your family would be unable to withdraw money from your bank to pay your bills, write cheques or set up standing orders. If your property needs to be sold so that you can move into Residential Care then your family would be unable to do this on your behalf.  In these circumstances, the Court of Protection would need to appoint a Deputy to deal with these matters. Unfortunately, this is a very lengthy and expensive process. This therefore causes a lot of anxiety and stress for the family which can be avoided by the completion of a Lasting Power of Attorney.

If you decide to postpone the completion of a Lasting Power of Attorney until you need it, this may be too late. You have to have the required mental capacity in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to complete a Lasting Power of Attorney.

It is therefore recommended that serious consideration is given by you or your loved one to the completing of a Lasting Power of Attorney as soon as possible to avoid the difficulties and complications which are likely to arise if you should lose your mental faculties in the future. It will be peace of mind for both you and your family.

For further information contact Val Prosser on 01227 274241.

 


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