Complete the form below to ask us a question or make an enquiry. We’ll get back to you via phone or email as soon as possible.

Insights

Power of Attorney & protecting the rights of people with dementia

Posted on 18th May 2021 in Later Life Planning

Posted by

Rachael Morley

Partner & Solicitor
Power of Attorney & protecting the rights of people with dementia

When a person receives a dementia diagnosis, this of course doesn’t automatically mean that they cannot make important decisions from that point onwards. As their symptoms worsen, though, they may become increasingly unable to make decisions about their finances, health or care. We refer to this as ‘losing mental capacity’.

Dementia can be a heart-breaking disease, both for the sufferer and their families. If you are concerned about losing mental capacity, one way in which you can help your family and friends is to consider taking steps now to protect yourself legally.

In this article, we look at how someone you trust can make decisions on your behalf or how you can help a loved one with dementia protect their rights for a time when they lose mental capacity.

 

Mental capacity - explained

In short, ‘mental capacity’ means that the person can understand, remember, and use information to make important decisions about their life. Mental capacity can be difficult to ascertain; some people are perfectly able to make daily decisions such as what to eat and what to wear, but struggle with more complex decisions, such as investment or banking.

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

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) protects and empowers people who may have lost mental capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment. The Act also states that where a decision must be made on behalf of a person who has lost capacity, this decision must be made in their best interests. There is a checklist to help decision-makers decide.

 

Dementia and making a Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so for yourself. This person is called your attorney and you can appoint more than one, or even consider setting out replacements.

To set up a Power of Attorney, you must have the mental capacity to do so, so it is important to do this as soon as possible if you have received a dementia diagnosis.

 

Do you need a Power of Attorney if you are married?

Legally, no one has the power to make decisions on your behalf if you have not set up an LPA. Your spouse or civil partner cannot automatically deal with bank accounts or pensions or even make decisions about your care where you lose capacity. As a result, even if you are married or in a civil partnership, setting up an LPA is essential.

Please contact our specialist solicitors today if you would like to discuss putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.

 

How can Tozers help?

For any further help or advice on anything covered in this insight, please contact our dedicated Later Life Planning team who will be happy to help.

Contact our legal experts

 


 

Paper plane

 

Get the latest news straight from our legal experts.

Subscribe to our newsletter to recieve current, dedicated, suppport and guidance from our solicitors straight to your inbox, wherever you are.

Company & Industry

Related Insights

Insights

How Remote Witnessing of Wills Changed During the Pandemic and Beyond

Posted on 29th February 2024 in Probate & Wills, Later Life Planning

In September 2020, the UK Parliament passed an order that amended the Wills Act 1837, a law that dates back to the Victorian era. The order allowed people to make valid Wills by using video-conferencing or other visual transmission, as long as the witnesses could see and hear the testator (the person making the Will) in real time. This was a temporary measure to help people who were self-isolating or facing lockdown restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The order applied to Wills made on or after 31 January 2020, and was initially set to expire on 31 January 2022.

Posted by

Sue Halfyard

Partner & Chartered Legal Executive
Insights

Lasting Powers of Attorney: Why Do I Need Them and When Should I Prepare Them?

Posted on 21st February 2024 in Probate & Wills, Later Life Planning

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney may seem like a task for another day, but as time goes on, our ability to manage our affairs may decrease or be prevented by an unexpected illness or accident. By making sure that you have the documents in place, and registered, this helps to ensure that a trusted person can step in to assist you when you need it most.

Posted by

Alice Carter-Tyler

Solicitor