Loss of mental capacity can be difficult not only for the person affected, but also for family and friends around them.
However, something that was initially challenging can be made even more difficult when it comes to legal and medical decisions, if you no longer think the person is capable of making those choices by themselves.
A number of things can affect mental capacity from injury to disorders or medical conditions, but it is worth remembering that it has little to do with age, appearance or behaviour.
If you no longer think someone is capable of making decisions for themselves, it is important to consider who should take on lasting power of attorney (LPA) to ensure one person has the legal right to make decisions about welfare, money or property.
You need to consider whether the person in question understands the decisions they are being asked to make, as well as the repercussions of any course of action.
It is also important to assess whether the person can communicate their decision through any means or through a professional. It may be necessary to consult a professional to determine the answers to the above.
However, someone must not be considered mentally unable to make a decision just because their decision is disagreed with by those around them.
Should someone be determined as having a loss of mental capacity, factors such as whether their faculties will return and what are in the best interests of that person should be considered in LPA cases.
There are two different types of lasting power of attorney – health and welfare as well as property and financial affairs.
A Lasting power of attorney is easy to organise yourself, although it is wise to seek some form of advice, and it is possible to include conditions so that it only comes into force when mental capacity deteriorates.
Lawpack's Power of Attorney Kit has a solicitor-approved Guidance Manual and access to all the LPA forms you need, so you have expert guidance on how to complete the forms and create a LPA.
Published on: June 22, 2012