Moving a relative or friend with dementia into a care home is an emotional and difficult decision. Is it the right time? Is the care home chosen the best one? These are also some important legal questions to consider.
Iamges photo copyright: Ian Allenden | 123RF.COM
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is where individuals appoint ‘attorneys’ to make decisions relating to finance, property, health or welfare on their behalf should they lose mental capacity through accident or illness (e.g. dementia). This is probably the best-known way of transferring the decision making process from an individual to the trusted help of family. An LPA can be a fantastic instrument when proper legal advice is given and it is drafted correctly.
But what happens if an individual loses mental capacity and they don’t have an LPA in place? One option is a much lesser known method of appointing a ‘deputy’ under a Property and Finance Deputyship.
This works in a similar way to an LPA as the deputy makes financial decisions on behalf of someone who has lost mental capacity. Both attorneys and deputies have similar roles and responsibilities, but a deputyship provides extra protection for the individual as the Office of the Public Guardian closely monitors deputy actions. Deputies must produce annual accounts which evidence, in detail, the financial transactions relating to the estate and the various actions that require to be taken.
Individuals can apply to become someone’s deputy if they ‘lack mental capacity’. This means they can’t make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made. They may still be able to make decisions for themselves at certain times. A deputy is authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.
There are two types of deputy: an individual can apply for both or either one.
a) Property and financial affairs deputy – undertaking to pay the person’s bills or organise their pension.
b) Personal welfare deputy – undertaking to make decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after.
Deputyship is a more difficult route to follow than an LPA and is somewhat after the event as the person involved has not made a decision to appoint, a court has and will therefore exercise more control of any process.
Read Mundays’ solicitor Kerry Sawyer’s article in the April issue of essence or contact her on 01932 590500.
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders affecting the brain. Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
The four most common types of dementia are:
• Alzheimer’s Disease (most common)
• Vascular dementia
• Dementia with Lewy bodies
Symptoms can include:
• Memory problems
• Cognitive ability
Dementia can be seen as a combination of one or all of the above symptoms. It’s important that an accurate diagnosis is made as early as possible so that people can receive the appropriate advice, support and treatment.