If you are finding it more difficult to manage your day-to-day affairs, or you are concerned that problem might arise in the future, you would be wise to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This involves appointing people you trust to make decisions for you, should you later lose the ability to make them for yourself.
If a person has lost capacity before making an LPA, then an application to the Court of Protection may be necessary. The Court of Protection is a specialist Court that makes decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions for themselves.
A Deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection with authority to manage the affairs or make decisions for a person who can no longer do this for themselves.
Financial decision making
A Property and Financial Afffairs Deputy can deal with the wide range of practical issues that arise, when a person has lost capacity to manage their own finances; such as paying bills, opening or closing accounts, securing their income, buying, selling or renting property, settling care home fees. A relative or friend can take on this role. If there is no suitable person available, the Court may appoint a professional Deputy, such as a solicitor, who is experienced in Deputyship work.
When a person loses capacity to make a will, and they have either never made a will, or their existing will needs reviewing, it may be appropriate to apply to the Court of Protection for a Statutory Will (a will authorised and approved by the Court). We offer advice and representation in all aspects of Statutory Will proceedings.
Differences in opinion can arise between family members, or between family and professionals, as to whether a person has the necessary mental capacity to make a decision themselves, and if not, what measures would then be in that person’s best interests. Occasionally the dispute results in an application to the Court, and our advisers provide specialist advice and representation throughout the Court proceedings.
We support clients to:
- Be appointed as Deputies, to manage property and finances for a friend or relative
- Fulfil their duties as Deputies, such as filing annual accounts or tax returns
- Make additional Court applications, e.g. seeking approval for property sales or purchases, gifts or Statutory Wills
Our team includes three professional Deputies, (all of whom are appointed to the Office of the Public Guardian specialist panel), as well as case workers. Together we can deal with all aspects of a person’s financial affairs, where there is no suitable relative or friend to act.
It is important to us to support and empower people to make as many decisions for themselves as possible, in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. We consult closely with family and friends when making decisions in the best interests of the person.
What does appointing professionals as your Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) look like in practice?
We were appointed as powers of attorney for a gentleman who, although had capacity at the time that he made the LPAs, felt unable to deal with his finances.