Two in every three people will lose their mental capacity at some point. For many, this is the result of an illness such as a stroke, a coma, Alzheimer’s or dementia. Capacity can be lost through an accident too.
If you were to lose your mental capacity, and you do not have a valid Lasting Power of Attorney in place, things can become very difficult. In such circumstances, your loved ones would have to apply to become your “Deputy” through the Court of Protection. Deputyship can be a time consuming and costly court process; often entering into thousands of pounds. Also, whilst a deputyship application is pending, the court will freeze all of your accounts and assets (including joint assets). In many cases, these assets can be frozen for several months.
In order to avoid the complications, costs and time involved with deputyship, clients are advised to make their Lasting Powers of Attorney whilst they still have their mental capacity. Lasting Powers of Attorney are legal documents in which you, the “Donor” appoint “Attorneys” (often friends and/or family members) to make decisions on your behalf if you are ill or lose capacity. As you are giving the authority to your attorneys to act, the courts do not need to be involved.