If you care for someone, there may come a time when you have to manage their affairs.
The Mental Capacity Act
The Mental Capacity Act aims to protect people aged 16 and over who are unable to make certain decisions for themselves due to a disability or illness. It enables people to choose someone to manage their finances and property should they become incapable of doing so and also to make health and welfare decisions on their behalf.
This needs to be carefully thought out and the best way to do this is to plan for the future by drawing up a legal agreement known as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
There are two types of LPA:
- Property and Affairs LPA enables you to make decisions on someone else's behalf about their property and affairs when they are no longer able to do so. This can include paying bills, managing a bank account or selling property.
- Personal Welfare LPA enables you to make decisions on someone else's behalf about their health and personal welfare, such as giving consent to medical treatment or deciding where they should live.
Anyone aged 18 or over, with the capacity to do so, can make an LPA and appoint one or more attorneys to act in their best interests and consider their needs and wishes as far as possible.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) supports and promotes decision making for those who lack capacity or would like to plan for their future. They can advise how to prepare an LPA and it will need to be registered with them before it can be used. You will have to pay for this.
You should be aware that LPAs are powerful and important legal documents and you may wish to seek legal advice from a solicitor with experience of preparing them. There are likely to be costs involved for this work.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
LPA replaced Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in October 2007. An existing EPA remains valid as long as it was signed before that date and while the person was still able to make decisions for themselves. If the person starts to lose the ability to make reasoned decisions then the EPA must be registered with the OPG.
If there is no EPA or LPA in place, a deputy may be appointed to make the decisions needed. Please contact the OPG for further advice.
Deputyship and advocacy
If there is no one able, willing or capable to manage a person's money on their behalf, then we can arrange 'deputyship'. If you do not feel able to speak for yourself, you can have someone to speak on your behalf ('advocacy').
Other organisations can also offer advice about looking after someone else’s affairs: