Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and dementia

This article was written by Charlotte Eden, Solicitor at RRL Wills.

Here at RRL Wills Limited we pride ourselves in providing top quality service for all of our clients. We have a vast amount of experience between our team of legal advisors. If you would like to meet to discuss matters further please contact our team on:

01872 276116 / 01736 339322 or nick.latimir@rrlwills.co.uk and  charlotte.eden@rrlwills.co.uk.

When someone receives a diagnosis of dementia this of course does not automatically mean that they cannot make important decisions. As their symptoms deteriorate, it may be that they become unable to make decisions about their finances, health or care. This is referred to as ‘losing mental capacity’.

Dementia can be a heart-breaking disease for both the sufferer and their families. If losing mental capacity is a concern to you then one way to safeguard yourself and help friends and family is to consider taking steps now to protect yourself legally.

Lasting Powers of Attorney allow you to appoint someone you trust to make these important decisions on your behalf if you ever become unable to make such decisions yourself.

What is mental capacity?

It means that someone can understand, remember and use information to make important decisions about their life. It can sometimes be difficult to establish; you may be perfectly able to make daily decisions such as what to wear or eat but have difficulty with more complex decisions such as banking or investments.

Mental capacity is ‘decision-specific’ in this way but also ‘time-specific’ in that it can vary day by day, hour by hour.

The Mental Capacity Act protects and empowers someone who may have lost mental capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment. The Act states if a decision has to be made on behalf of someone who has lost capacity then it must be in his or her best interests. There is helpful guidance within the Act to help the decision-makers decide what is best.

Do I need an LPA if I am married or in a civil partnership?

It is a common misconception that couples think they can make decisions on behalf of their spouse/civil partner. Legally, no one has the power to make decisions on your behalf if you do not put an LPA in place. You would not automatically be able to deal with your spouse or civil partner’s bank accounts, investments or pensions or even make decisions about their care where they lose capacity or are unable to express their wishes themselves. As a result even if you are married or in a civil partnership setting up an LPA is essential.

Please do take action now before it is too late. If you would like to put LPAs in place or would like to review your current position, please do contact our legal team.