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World Mental Health Day - 10 October 2015

View profile for Laura Stuart
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According to research undertaken for Dementia UK there were 816,000 people with dementia in the UK in 2013. In 2015 that’s risen to an estimated 857,000. One in six people aged over 80 suffers with the disease. It makes sense, then, to plan for the possibility of becoming incapable of managing your own financial or health and welfare needs. On 10 October it was World Mental Health Day and it served as a timely reminder that we should all be planning for the future.

Lasting Powers of Attorney 
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to appoint one or more people to act on your behalf and make decisions regarding your property and finances. A second LPA can make provision for your health and welfare. At the time of signing you must be capable of understanding the document and its powers.

The benefits of preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney are:

•    You can choose a person you trust and who you want to be in control of your personal circumstances
•    You can place any restrictions you feel necessary on the document
•    You have the right to change or revoke the document whilst you have capacity
•    Straight forward application process with a time scale of approximately 12 weeks to completion
•    It is considerably quicker and cheaper than having to make a Deputyship Application to the Court of Protection once capacity has been lost
•    It makes life easier and less stressful for your friends and family who will not have to go through a Deputyship Application

Deputyship Order
Unfortunately, if you lack the mental capacity to manage your finances and health or indeed your welfare and you have not prepared a Lasting Power of Attorney, a Deputy will need to be appointed. A Deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of someone who lacks mental capacity. Any person can be appointed as a Deputy if they can demonstrate their suitability to the Court of Protection. If there is no one willing or suitable, a professional Deputy, such as a Solicitor, can be appointed. As the person to whom the application relates is unable to make the decision as to whom they would like to appoint, the application process is very complicated. In turn, it is more costly and more time consuming, with current time scales being approximately 6 to 12 months.