Powers of Attorney Solicitors
At Ridley & Hall we think it is very important to make plans now for when you may not be able to manage your affairs due to mental or physical impairment.
Whilst you retain the ability to make decisions for yourself, you should consider very carefully choosing someone to look after your finances and/or your physical welfare in the event you cannot carry out these duties. You can appoint someone to deal with these aspects by choosing an attorney.
What is an LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney)?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that grants someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so due to illness or incapacity.
There are two types: one covering financial matters and another for health and welfare. It provides peace of mind by ensuring that should you be unable to make those decisions for yourself, you have chosen the person or people that will make those decisions for you, offering crucial support during challenging times. Creating an LPA empowers you to plan for an uncertain future with confidence.
How can Ridley & Hall’s Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors Help?
- Advising you about lasting powers of attorney and which may be appropriate to your circumstances.
- Discussing the requirements an attorney may need to meet and who may be an appropriate choice as an attorney for you.
- Drafting the necessary lasting power of attorney document for you, and ensuring it is signed correctly by all parties.
- Explaining to you the steps that need to be taken so your attorneys can commence acting under a lasting power of attorney for you.
Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney
Property & Financial Affairs LPA
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs is a legal document that grants someone or a group of people (Your Attorneys) the authority to manage your financial matters and property if you become unable to do so. Your Attorneys can make decisions regarding bank accounts, investments, property transactions, and other financial affairs. This ensures your interests are protected in case of incapacity or illness.
Health & Welfare LPA
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare is a legal document that empowers a chosen representatives (Your Attorneys) to make decisions regarding your health and well-being if you’re unable to do so. This includes choices about medical treatment, care options, and living arrangements. It ensures your preferences and best interests are upheld in situations of incapacity or severe illness, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
Loss of mental capacity and the Court of Protection
If someone still has the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves they can choose to appoint someone (an attorney or attorneys) to manage their property and financial affairs, and their health and welfare decisions in the future by making a lasting power of attorney.
If someone lacks mental capacity – and they do not have either an enduring power of attorney or lasting power of attorney in place already – then it may be necessary for someone to be appointed by the Court of Protection to act as their “deputy”.
The Court of Protection – what is it and what does it do?
The Court of Protection make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (they ‘lack mental capacity’). which affect people who do not have the mental capacity to make important decisions themselves.
The Court of Protection are responsible for:
- deciding whether someone has the mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves
- appointing deputies to make ongoing decisions for people who lack mental capacity
- giving people permission to make one-off decisions on behalf of someone else who lacks mental capacity
- handling urgent or emergency applications where a decision must be made on behalf of someone else without delay
- making decisions about a lasting power of attorney or enduring power of attorney and considering any objections to their registration
- considering applications to make statutory wills or gifts
- making decisions about when someone can be deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act
The Court of Protection’s powers are defined by Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Act has 5 key principles: –
- Every adult has the right to make his or her own decisions and must be assumed to have capacity to do so unless it is proved otherwise.
- People must be supported as much as possible to make a decision before anyone concludes that they cannot make their own decision.
- People have the right to make what others might regard as an unwise or eccentric decision.
- Anything done for or on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity must be done in their best interests.
- Someone making a decision or acting on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must consider whether it is possible to decide or act in a way that would interfere less with the person’s rights and freedoms or action, or whether there’s a need to decide or act at all. In essence any intervention should be proportional to the particular circumstances of the case.
Statutory Wills are made by the Court of Protection on behalf of an individual (‘P’) who has lost capacity. The court’s authority is derived from the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005).
When considering whether a Statutory Will can be made on behalf of an individual, their lack of capacity in respect of the making of a Will must be addressed.
How can we help you?
At Ridley & Hall we have an experienced team to help you to identify the most suitable course of action for your loved one. If the person lacks mental capacity, and you do need to apply to the Court of Protection, we can advise you on:
- What information the court will require if you make an application to act as a deputy for someone who lacks mental capacity.
- The documents you will need to complete when making an application – we can help to fill in the forms if you would like.
- Your responsibilities if the court appoints you as a deputy.
- Why the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its Code of Practice is important and what deputies need to know about them.
- Making gifts when you are a deputy.
- The deputy’s inherent duty to maximise their client’s income.
- How to prepare and complete deputyship accounts and reports.
- The process for making a Statutory Will if one is needed.
- Any other property and financial issues which affect the person who lacks mental capacity.
Thomas GriceHead of Department,
Hannah PedleyAssociate Solicitor
Deborah KayeAssociate Solicitor
Ann SilverPersonal Assistant
Sophie AldridgeTrainee Solicitor
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Frequently Asked Questions
Choose someone you really trust. They should understand what you want and be responsible enough to do it.
Yes, providing you have the mental capacity to do so, you can change your mind. Let us know if this is something that you are considering and the team at Ridley & Hall will be able to guide you through the process.
Before a Lasting Power of Attorney can be used it needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, this is something that we will take care of for you at Ridley and Hall. When your Attorneys can start making decisions is dependant on the type of Lasting Power of Attorney you have made and the choices your have made in the document.
If you or someone you know found themselves in this situation then someone would need to make a Deputyship Application to the Court of Protection. This is a time-consuming and expensive process in which the Court decides who has the right to make decisions for someone. This may not always be the person you would have chosen.