I am often approached by children of parents who have been diagnosed with early Dementia or Alzheimers and have been told that their parent should get their affairs in order. The children making the approach are often worried that the Lasting Power of Attorney has been left too late and that due to the diagnosis making a Lasting Power of Attorney is no longer possible.
My reply is always that it is vital the children and their parents look into making a Lasting Power of Attorney without delay. A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made if the person making it has mental capacity – the knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and is able to make their own decisions. The diagnosis itself does not mean that the parent has lost capacity but it automatically alerts the legal advisor to the possibility that capacity may be an issue. Therefore, it is always my recommendation that the person’s GP or some other medical professional carries out a mental capacity test and provides their expert opinion as to whether the parent is still able to go ahead with the Lasting Power of Attorney. The sooner this can take place the better.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (1) Property and Financial Affairs which allows the attorney(s) to deal with property, bank accounts, pensions etc (2) Health and Welfare matters which allows the attorney(s) to make decisions about the persons everyday life, medical decisions, how the person is cared for and life sustaining treatment decisions.
If it is decided that the parent’s illness has already progressed to beyond the point of them having capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (and if one is not already in place) the child will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy. A Deputyship application in comparison to a Lasting Power of Attorney is much more involved, takes longer and costs more. Additionally, there are annual supervision Court fees.
So, my advice is don’t delay, seek legal advice as soon as you or your relative receive your diagnosis. You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney application yourself but to make sure it is right the first time round, time and money is not wasted you should use a legal professional with experience to guide you through the process. If it is early enough we can still help you to put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and save you having to make a Deputyship application.
We offer a fixed fee upfront and there are no hidden charges. To find out more about making a Lasting Power of Attorney please contact Dagmara Kulczykowska on 01908 689317.