What happens if I cannot make decisions for myself?
The COVID19 outbreak has prompted many of us to consider what would happen if we were unable to make decisions (whether through illness or injury).
When someone has mental capacity, they can make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) appointing one or more people to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime. There are two types of LPA; Property and Finance LPAs and Health and Welfare LPAs. It is important when making an LPA to consider the practicalities of who will assist you, both if something were to happen now or in the future, along with other factors such as the types of investments you have and whether these would be covered by the LPA.
If you become mentally incapable without an LPA in place, your decisions will become subject to the Court of Protection. This is called a ‘Deputyship’. Under a Deputyship, not only will you have no control as to who makes decisions on your behalf, but the process is inflexible, frustrating and expensive. Deputyship applications can cost several thousand pounds and usually take around 6-9 months to complete. This is likely to be at a time when decisions need to be made quickly and bank accounts need accessing. Making an LPA in advance, is therefore preferable.
Our expert and friendly team can assist with either creating an LPA or considering Court of Protection proceedings and are available to talk if you need additional advice.
Rebecca Dixon is a solicitor in the private client department at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich solicitors.