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Powers of attorney, advance decisions and deputyship orders

When you lose mental capacity to make a decision about your own affairs, those involved in your care (the local authority, health care professionals or family members) may be required to make decisions on your behalf in your best interests, subject to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.


It is important to take the reins and appoint exactly who you trust to make decisions on your behalf if the time arises, whilst you still have mental capacity. We can aid you with the creation, registration or ending of all types of powers of attorney. These include:-


  • General powers of attorney – these may only be used when the donor has mental capacity. GPAs may be useful at a time when you require someone to make decisions for you on a temporary basis, for example if you are recovering from surgery in hospital and cannot pay your bills.
  • Lasting powers of attorney – both types of LPA need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian as soon as they are executed. A property and financial affairs LPA may be used prior to the donor losing mental capacity and/or following this, whereas a health and welfare LPA may only be used once the donor has lost mental capacity.
  • Enduring powers of attorney – whilst these have been replaced with lasting powers of attorneys since October 2007, EPAs are still perfectly legal. However, these may only be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian when attorneys have reason to believe that the donor has lost or is losing mental capacity to manage their affairs or may be used by attorneys with the donor’s permission.


An advance decision, otherwise known as an ADRT or a living will, is a legally enforceable decision you can make to refuse a specific type of treatment at some time in the future.


If attorneys are not appointed whilst you have capacity, disputes may arise as to who can make decisions on your behalf and this may lead to the assistance of the Court of Protection. The Court protects vulnerable people and has the power to assess someone’s capacity, make decisions about someone’s financial or health matters, appoint deputies to make decisions on someone’s behalf and assess the validity of a power of attorney.


We can provide you with advice and representation in relation to such disputes, including making applications to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order. Our legal advisors are also rehearsed in acting as attorneys and deputies appointed by their clients or the Court of Protection.

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