April 20, 2024

Healt Hid

Because health is very important to us

Lasting power of attorney for people with dementia

3 min read

Why should I make a Lasting power of attorney?

After a diagnosis of dementia it is a good idea to plan for the future. It may be hard, but it can also be reassuring to know that you have made your wishes and preferences clear.

It can also help you to know that you have chosen people you trust to make decisions for you when you need them to. Planning ahead can make things easier for your family and friends as well.

What happens if I don’t make a Lasting power of attorney?

Although it can be difficult to think about the future, and to plan for life with dementia, it is important. Planning can make things much easier as your condition progresses.

If you don’t make an LPA, and later become unable to make certain decisions for yourself, there may come a time when no one can legally make those decisions for you. This can make things difficult and very drawn-out, such as paying bills or care costs, or making decisions about your future care.

If this happens, someone may need to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy.

What is the difference between a deputy and an attorney?

Becoming a deputy gives someone similar powers to an attorney. A family member or friend can apply to be your deputy, or a professional may be appointed.

However, there are important differences between a deputy and an attorney:

  • The process of becoming a deputy is more time-consuming and expensive than an LPA.
  • The deputy is chosen by the court, not by you.
  • A deputy must also do some other tasks, such as paying an annual fee and submitting an annual report. This means it is usually cheaper and easier for someone to be an attorney rather than a deputy.
  • It’s unusual for a deputy to be appointed to deal with decisions about your health and welfare. A deputy is normally only appointed to deal with your property and finances.

If you have not made either a health and welfare LPA, or an advance decision that applies, health or social care professionals will normally make care and treatment decisions for you – if you are unable to decide for yourself.

In this instance, the professionals would make decisions based on what is in your ‘best interests’. They would still need to consider your wishes and feelings (including the ones in any advance statement you have made) but it would be these professionals who would make the final decision.

What are the benefits of making a Lasting power of attorney?

Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) can help to make things easier for you and the people you are close to as your dementia progresses. There are many benefits of having an LPA in place – some of these are listed below.

  • It can be reassuring to know that, if you are unable to make a decision for yourself in the future, someone you have chosen and trust will make that decision for you.
  • With a property and affairs LPA, you can allow your attorney to make decisions even if you can still make them yourself. You don’t have to choose this option but it can be a useful way of giving yourself some extra support. It can also help your attorney to get familiar with all your financial and legal arrangements.
  • Making an LPA now will make things easier for the people close to you in the future. It will be more expensive, difficult and time-consuming for them to get permission to act on your behalf when you are not able to give your consent.
  • Making an LPA can start discussions with your family or others about what you want to happen. This means decisions they have to make in the future will be based on your wishes.

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