I’m confident many of you would have seen Alan Shearer’s documentary ‘Football, Dementia and Me’ on the BBC over the weekend. Dementia is seemingly rife in ex-retired footballers, so much so that studies are being conducted into the possible link between heading the football and later life dementia. Alan Shearer, who over the course of his career remains the Premier League’s all-time top scorer, with 46 of those goals coming from headers, took part in one such study as part of his program.
Alan also visited families of other ex-footballers who had been affected by dementia, including Manchester United and World Cup Legend Nobby Styles who is currently in the advanced stages of dementia. The program very well orchestrated not just the effect that dementia has on the person, but the impact it can have on those closet to them.
After watching the devastating impact dementia can have on your loved ones the program may have triggered the thought – What would happen if I were to lose capacity, and what you could do to prepare for such possibility?
If you were to lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself who would make decisions for you? Who would manage your daily bills and other financial affairs? If you needed medical treatment who would consent to this on your behalf? If you are married you may think your spouse will be able to do this for you, but this is not the case unless they are formally appointed as your attorney or deputy.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that grants a person or people the power to make decisions on another person’s behalf. Investing in creating an LPA will save your family time and distress in the event of your loss of capacity.
At present, there are two types of LPA, both of which must be made when you have the capacity. The first is known as a Property and Affairs LPA this allows your chosen attorney to make a decision about your financial affairs and property. The second type of LPA is the Health and Welfare LPA. This covers decisions about your personal welfare and health, and can only come into effect after you have has lost capacity.
Under both types of LPA, the decision who choose who to appoint as your attorneys is yours, so this could be your spouse or partner, your children, or anyone else you fully trust to look after your best interests.
It is often common practice these days to provide guidance to your attorneys so they can make the decisions as closely as possible to how you would. This can be done by making your preferences known to them and by providing clear instructions in the forms. Your attorneys should consider your preferences but don’t have to follow them. Instructions, on the other hand, must be followed. Instructions have to be carefully worded so that they are legally correct, Nene Legal will be able to help you with this.
What if you don’t have an LPA though?
If capacity is lost without having an LPA in place, family or friends would need to apply for a Deputyship which takes significantly longer than registering an LPA. ( Which normally takes 10 weeks ) Applications to become a Deputy are handled by the Court of Protection, and the process is often very expensive with a £400 application fee (at time of writing).plus any legal fees.