We would all like to think that we will always be well enough to look after our own financial affairs. However, the reality is that there are many reasons why an individual's capacity to manage his own property and finances may diminish, for example, brain injury or stroke, mental health issues or severe learning disabilities. It is also true that the population is ageing and we are living longer, increasing the chance that at some stage we will have to live with dementia in one form or another.
Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
Our Mental Capacity lawyers can provide advice to individuals who wish to protect against the possibility that they may become mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs or, indeed, become mentally incapable of making decisions about their health and care. They can help you through the process of making and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney whereby you can appoint attorneys who could make decisions for you if you lack capacity to make those decisions yourself.
Michelmores' lawyers are able to accept the appointment as an attorney in the majority of cases where an individual wishes to appoint a professional attorney.
If you are an attorney appointed by a friend or relative under an Enduring Power of Attorney you are under a duty to register that Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian if you consider that the person who made the Enduring Power of Attorney is becoming or has become mentally incapable of managing his or her property and finances. Our Mental Capacity lawyers can offer advice on the operation and registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney and help you through that process.
We can also advise about Living Wills and their interaction with Health and Care Decisions Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Court of Protection
If an individual lacks capacity to manage his own property and finances and has not made either an Enduring Power of Attorney or a Financial Decisions Lasting Power of Attorney, it may be necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy to manage the individual's finances.
- Advising the joint deputies of a young man who had suffered a brain injury at birth. Advising in respect of their application to be appointed as deputies and further in respect of an application to the Court of Protection for approval of the joint purchase of a home for the family using a combination of the deputies' own funds and part of the compensation awarded to the young man on conclusion of a claim for clinical negligence.
- Advising the parents of a young man with Downs Syndrome and living 'independently' in supported living accommodation. Advising in respect of a range of issues, including drafting a Disabled Persons Trust and appropriate Wills to ensure that their son's means-tested entitlements will not be affected by any inheritance.
- Advising the professional attorneys of a number of clients, including a young man with significant learning difficulties, a lady living with bipolar disorder and receiving care funds under the Mental Health Act, stroke survivors and individuals living with dementia.