With dementia, Alzheimer’s and other mental health conditions which gradually deteriorate over time, there comes a point when a patient is no longer capable of making their own decisions, particularly regarding their long term care, living arrangements and medical treatment.
Another significant challenge for family and loved ones is that the patient with the condition may not realise that they are no longer acting or behaving in their own best interests.
Family matters such as financial circumstances can further complicate matters as well as managing and paying for the costs of ongoing elderly care.
So when the time comes for you or a family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s to have someone else make those important decisions on your behalf, there are two main options. Ideally, if the situation has been anticipated, you will already have planned in advance by putting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Enduring Power of Attorney in place which will already name the person taking charge of your affairs. If this is not the case, a ‘deputy’ can be appointed instead by the Court of Protection.
“The legal team at Eldermera can guide you through the deputyship process and how to apply to the Court of Protection when the time comes for handing over decision making responsibilities on long term elderly care.”
Becoming a deputy and making decisions for someone who lacks capacity.
Deputyship can be a protracted, complex process for family and carers when their loved one needs someone to take charge of their decision making. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) sets out the situations in which deputyship applies, who can become a deputy and how they can take on the role. It must also be established that the patient no longer has the mental capacity to manage his or her own affairs.
Typically, a deputy will be a friend or relative, but the role can also be fulfilled by a solicitor or an accountant or another professional if that is what the court decides.
Property and affairs deputyship
Property and affairs deputyship is usually the most frequently applied for to manage a person’s financial affairs, especially when an LPA is not in place and a deputy is required.
The application requires a signed declaration which will set out the situation, as well as the duties to be carried out by the deputy.
The proposed deputy must be able to demonstrate to the Court of Protection that they have the ability to take on the role.
Another key factor is to ascertain that the deputy does not have any health or financial problems which might deem their appointment unsuitable.
Personal welfare deputyship
This form of deputyship has traditionally been less common, as the Court of Protection only appoints deputies for making ongoing decisions about someone’s health and welfare when there is a clear requirement for regular medical treatment or care supervision.
Frequently such decision making processes can be undertaken by whoever is providing the patient’s care and ongoing medical treatment.
In personal welfare deputyship, there may be instances where the court has to intervene if there is disagreement on the best course of action with regard to their care.
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