Lasting Power of Attorney and Mental Capacity
Posted on 9th January 2021 at 09:03
An LPA or Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets someone you have designated as an attorney to act on your behalf should you not have the mental capacity to do so yourself.
The LPA can be tailored to include decisions concerning your finances and property as well as your health and wellbeing needs for the future. For example, if you begin to suffer from dementia, you may want a member of the family to look after you and give them the power to make decisions concerning your medication or whether you should be given care in a specific way.
The key part of Lasting Power of Attorney is appointing someone to act as your attorney. This is allowed under the Mental Capacity Act. The attorney, despite the name, does not have to be a solicitor or legal expert. It can be anyone you choose to nominate. The most common choices are partners and children who are over the age of 18.
You can decide how much power you wish to cede to your chosen attorney. If you are getting old and frail, for instance, you might want the person to make decisions about your daily routine such as what you eat and what you wear. They can have a say over what medication or treatment you receive. They can decide whether you get life-saving treatment or whether you go into a care home.
You can, of course, stipulate this prior to the LPA being implemented. You might add into the wording that you don’t want to be resuscitated after a heart attack or that you don’t want a blood transfusion or a certain medication because of your religious beliefs.
The notion of being mentally incapacitated can be worrying when you are considering them in the cold light of day. The LPA is is there to protect you when you don’t have the ability to make the appropriate choices yourself. In other words, while you still have the wherewithal you can include it in the legal framework of the LPA.
The financial side of an LPA often seem a lot more straight forward. This gives your attorney the permission to act on your behalf when it comes to matters of money and your property. It might be as simple as paying the bills or it could involve having permission to sell your property to provide care.
Mental incapacity can take numerous forms. We often associate it with conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s in later life. But what if you have an accident that diminishes your mental capacity and your ability to make decisions? A lasting power of attorney essentially means you have the legal framework in place to ensure someone can take over and make those decisions for you.
While you can fill in the forms and submit them to the Office of the Public Guardian yourself, it’s always best to talk through everything with a qualified legal team who understand everything about LPAs. If you’d like to find out more, contact our professional and helpful staff today to book an appointment at DSM Legal Solicitors on 01925 937070.
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