You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) if you have dementia, but only if you still have mental capacity. Once mental capacity is lost, an LPA cannot be made.
If you have been recently diagnosed with dementia, or your loved one has, you need to put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place now. If you delay, it could be too late.
Given our ageing population, it is not surprising that more and more people are being diagnosed with dementia. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Society calculates that there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. This figure is set to rise to more than 1 million by 2025.
Dementia is a condition which gets worse over time. The rate at which the illness progresses varies from person to person. Some never reach the later stages of dementia. Some become incapacitated very quickly.
A person in the early stages of the condition may experience short-term memory loss and other symptoms, but still be able to carry out everyday tasks – including making decisions about their health, welfare and finances. In other words, they still have mental capacity.
Dementia and mental capacity
When it comes to Powers of Attorney, the concept of mental capacity is extremely important. This is because you can only make Lasting Powers of Attorney if you have mental capacity.
But what exactly does mental capacity mean?
In brief, if you have mental capacity, you are able to make informed decisions for yourself. This includes understanding information relevant to your decision, weighing up this information during the decision-making process, comprehending the implications of your decision, and communicating your decision.
Of course, it can be confusing to know whether or not you are technically considered to have mental capacity. This is particularly true with conditions such as dementia, the symptoms of which can fluctuate.
Dementia and Powers of Attorney
Ultimately it is up to a medical professional to decide. A nurse, doctor or other healthcare worker who is specially trained in this area must judge whether or not you have mental capacity. If you do, you can go ahead and make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
However, you should use a solicitor who specialises in LPAs. This is because your mental capacity may be called into question at a later date, and this could invalidate your LPA. A solicitor can take the necessary provisions to ensure this does not happen.
If mental capacity has been lost
If someone is deemed to be mentally incapable, he or she is not allowed to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This rule exists to protect elderly and vulnerable people from abuse.
If your loved one has lost mental capacity due to dementia and did not make an LPA, you do not have the automatic authority to manage their affairs. Instead, you must make an application to the court for a Deputyship Order.
Applying for a Deputyship Order is an expensive and long-winded process. Because of this, it is recommended that if you are able make a Lasting Power of Attorney, you act now.
We never know when we might become mentally incapable due to illness or old age, and it is better to make arrangements now, just in case. This advice is especially acute if you have been diagnosed with dementia, as you are at greater risk of losing your decision-making abilities.
Contact us now
If you have mental capacity, you are able to make a Lasting Power of Attorney – even if you have been diagnosed with dementia.
If you would like to know more about making a Lasting Power of Attorney with dementia, or you would like to get started with the process, we can help.
Please call Debbie on Southport 01704 532890 or Liverpool 0151 928 6544 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.