Can someone still make decisions about my finances or welfare on my behalf if I am unable to make these decisions myself and I don’t have a lasting power of attorney?
If you lose the ability to make decisions about your property and financial affairs or personal welfare (ie you “lack mental capacity”) it will no longer be an option for you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf under an LPA. Similarly, if your lasting power of attorney (LPA) was entered into after you lost mental capacity, your LPA will be invalid in these circumstances.
If you do not have much in the way of savings, and your main source of income is benefits or state pension, it is possible for someone to apply to become your benefit appointee, so that they can collect your benefits/state pension on your behalf and pay your bills.
If you own your property, or you have other sources of income and/or other investments or savings, it is likely that the Court of Protection will need to become involved. The Court of Protection can decide whether you have the capacity to make a particular decision and can appoint a deputy on your behalf if you are found to lack mental capacity. Alternatively, someone who wants to make decisions on your behalf can apply to the court to be appointed your deputy.
The role of the deputy is similar to that of an attorney. The court will decide whether it is necessary, and in your best interests, for a deputy to be appointed on your behalf. If it is considered necessary, and in your best interests to appoint a deputy for you, the court can decide whether the person applying to become your deputy is suitable for the role and what decisions they should be able to make on your behalf and whether the appointment should be for a specified time or ongoing.
If you want to be in control of deciding who should deal with your finances, or make personal welfare decisions for you, in the event that you lose capacity in the future, it is advisable to have LPA drawn up while you still have the capacity to do this.
If you need any assistance in setting up an LPA, our experienced Court of Protection team will be happy to assist.
Please see related posts from Nicola on whether you need an LPA, how to make an LPA, what type of decisions can be made under an LPA, who to appoint as an attorney, bringing an LPA to an end and the difference between an LPA and an enduring power of attorney.