Lasting Power of Attorney
If you feel the person you are caring for may not be able to make decisions for themselves in the future then you may want to consider a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Lasting power of attorney gives you the authority to make decisions on the behalf of the person you care for when they lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
It includes making decisions about:
- financial affairs and property
- health and welfare, such as consent to medical treatment or social care services.
The person you care for can decide whether to give you the power to make decisions about both aspects or just one depending on the circumstances.
You must make a lasting power of attorney while the person you care for still has the capacity to appoint you. However, it doesn’t come into force until the person is judged to no longer have mental capacity.
You can find out more and watch real-life stories about people who’ve set up a lasting power of attorney on the government’s power of attorney website.
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney
You can create a LPA account and fill in the forms on the Gov.uk website but you’ll need a printer to print off the completed forms. You’ll need to get them signed by the relevant parties and then send the signed copies to the Office of the Public Guardian by post. If you’d prefer to print off the blank forms and complete them all in pen, you can print them here.
There is an £82 charge for registering an LPA, however, this may be lower if the person you care for is on certain benefits. It can take up to 10 weeks for your forms to be registered.
What happens if you don’t have Lasting Power of Attorney?
Once the person you care for has lost capacity, it is no longer possible to make a lasting power of attorney.
If the person you look after is assessed as lacking mental capacity, then any decision made on their behalf should be done in their ‘best interests’. There is a non-exhaustive checklist of factors that decision makers (usually the professionals involved with the person’s care) must work through in deciding what is in a person’s best interest. As a carer, you have the right to be consulted concerning a person’s best interests and can give your thoughts on the best course of action.
It is possible to apply to the Court of Protection to ask to be appointed as a deputy for the person you care for. You can ask for the court to make one-off decisions about a particular issue but if there are likely to be more decisions to make in the future then becoming a deputy is probably the best option.
What are attorneys expected to do?
Agreeing to become an attorney means you will be able to make decisions on behalf of the person you are caring for. Every attorney will have a duty of care and a legal duty to follow what is in the Code of Practice which has been written to help professionals, paid carers, deputies and attorneys know how the Act will work in practice. All decisions made by attorneys and any actions they take must be in the person’s best interests. If there is more than one attorney appointed jointly they will need to consult with each other to work out what is in the donor’s best interests.