We would always advise clients to seriously consider making Lasting Power of Attorney applications. (LPA’s). These are legal documents which provides for one or more people to make decisions on the client’s behalf. It comes into effect should the client become incapacitated and unable to manage their own affairs, at some point in the future.
- Property and financial affairs
- Health and Welfare
The appointed Attorneys can make a wide range of decisions legally on behalf of the client.
Any LPA introduced should be professionally written, by a specialist, because it is a document which may need to cover many different situations and used in different ways under different circumstances.
The client must have capacity to make the LPA’s and understand their implications. The LPA’s must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.
If a person has not made LPA’s before they lose capacity, then the family, close friends or in some circumstances, social services, can apply for a Court of Protection Deputyship Order (COP) on behalf of that person. This gives the proposed deputy the ability to make decisions on behalf of someone who has lost the capacity to care for and make decisions for themselves.
The lack of capacity may be because of any impairment of or disturbance in the functioning of the mind or brain, such as dementia or a stroke.
The deputyship order will set out the deputy’s powers, sometimes restricting it’s use without further directions from the courts.
The powers are similar to those of LPA’s, and may relate for example, to the person’s finances, property or accommodation (including where they live or whether they go into care), their medical treatment and other healthcare issues, and their personal welfare, eg: what clothes they wear, and anything needed for their general care and well-being. The powers given depend on the person’s needs.
The proposed deputy completes a set of application forms and a suitable practitioner (eg the patient’s doctor) completes a medical report. An application fee is payable.
The proposed deputy can employ a professional adviser to help them with the application and advise on the duties as a deputy (once appointed). Our fee’s can normally be recovered from the funds of the person lacking capacity.
A professional deputy can be appointed if there are no suitable other persons. A court hearing is not normally required, provided there is no objection to the application.
Deputies can be reimbursed reasonable and legitimate expenses, such as telephone calls, travel and postage. If these exceed £500, they may have to explain why.
A deputyship ends automatically if the person lacking capacity recovers or dies.
If the person becomes able to make their own decisions, the deputyship order stays in force until it expires or is discharged by another Court order. A deputy who cannot, or does not want to, remain a deputy must apply to the Court to have their order discharged. The Court can also discharge a deputy who it believes has acted improperly, eg not in the person’s best interests.
Speak to us if you require any further information on either Lasting Power of Attorney or Court of Protection Orders.
Douglas Jones Mercer – Solicitors
16 Axis Court, Mall;ard Way, Swansea Vale, Swansea SA7 0AJ Tel: 01792 650000
Chelston House, 103 Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea SA3 4BN Tel: 01792 304090