Who calls the shots?
While you have ‘Mental Capacity’ you do! It is important to consider though that there may be a time when you may not be able to make your decisions for yourself as an accident or illness can affect our ability to make decisions (at any age) and may lead to someone else having to help or even make some decisions on your behalf in the future.
Choosing someone to manage your decisions, should there be a time when you are not able to, can help give peace of mind. It can save money and make sure that those caring for you take into account your wishes if they are having to make decisions in your best interests.
Have you thought about these things?
- Who would manage your finances or health decisions if you are no longer able to?
- Do you have an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney?
- Have you made a will or set out your wishes for your care, property or family?
- Would you like to make plans for the future, make sure your loved ones are provided for or inherit what you intended them to?
Please don’t assume, as many do, that if anything happens to you your partner/spouse/children will be able to ‘manage your affairs’ for you, they may not be allowed to if there is no legal provision in place.
Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is your opportunity to appoint someone you trust to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf if you have an accident or an illness and are no longer able to make your own decisions without help.
Do I need a Power of Attorney?
I can make manage my own affairs! Yes, and while you are able to manage your own affairs it is important to consider that there may be a time when you may not be able to. This is your chance to choose someone that you trust should that ever happen. Powers of Attorney can only be made while you CAN make your own decisions! Don’t worry though, while you have ‘Mental Capacity’ you will still continue to make your own decisions.
How do I apply for a Power of Attorney?
You can make and register a Lasting Power of Attorney online and the GOV.UK website has the information you will need.
Office of Public Guardian – 0300 456 0300
If you need more support to understand or apply for a Power of Attorney, a ‘Certificate Provider’ or Witness then we can help or if you need an independent ‘Mental Capacity’ assessment we can arrange that too.
What is ‘Mental Capacity’?
The ability to understand and make a decision when it needs to be made is called ‘mental capacity’. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) is a law that protects and supports those who can’t make some or all decisions for themselves. It has a ‘Code of Practice’ for those who are assessing someone’s capacity and supporting them to make decisions.
Types of Attorney
- Ordinary Power of Attorney – This is for financial affairs and is valid while you have mental capacity. It is suitable if you need cover for a temporary period for example a hospital stay or holiday, or if you find it hard to get out, or you want someone to act for you.
- Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) – Someone with an EPA can help to make or make decisions about someone’s property and money providing it was made and signed before October 1, 2007. After that date donors had to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
- Lasting Power of Attorney –Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) are a way of giving someone the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity at some time in the future or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of LPA: Finance/Property and Health/Welfare.
What happens if I don’t have ‘Mental Capacity’ to choose an Attorney?
If a person has lost the capacity to choose an ‘Attorney’ and a legal representative has not been appointed there may be a need to apply to the Court of Protection who will appoint a Deputy.
Court of Protection – 0300 456 4600
I haven’t got any money to manage!
A Lasting Power of Attorney can also be made for Health and Welfare decisions but if want someone to help claim and manage benefits then a Department of Works and Pensions Appointee can be assigned for BENEFITS ONLY.
What if I am having problems with my Attorney?
- If you think you’re in immediate danger, contact your local police force or call 999 in an emergency.
- Raise your concerns with the Office of the Public Guardian, which has responsibility for monitoring attorneys.
- If you have concerns of financial misuse or abuse, call the Action on Elder Abuse helpline on 080 8808 8141.
If you would like to speak to someone about supporting a loved one or making a Power of Attorney please call us 0800 999 2 27 or get in touch.