Can someone with dementia make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Mar 15, 2024

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives a chosen attorney the authority to manage someone’s affairs, should they lose the ability to do this. We take a look at whether someone with dementia can make an LPA.

An LPA can be hugely beneficial for someone with dementia. If the time comes when they are no longer able to make their own decisions, their representative can step in to do this for them. There are two types of LPA:

  • A property and financial affairs LPA; and
  • A health and welfare LPA

One or both types can be made. A property and financial affairs LPA authorises an attorney to do things like paying bills, managing investments, maintaining and insuring property and receiving benefits for the person who signed the LPA, known as the donor.

A health and welfare LPA allows the attorney to make care decisions, such as where the donor will live, what their daily routine will be, who they will see and what medical treatment they will receive or what treatment will be declined on their behalf.

Is someone with dementia able to sign an LPA?

To make an LPA, the donor needs to have sufficient mental capacity. In the early stages of dementia, it may be possible for someone to make an LPA, provided that they:

  • Understand what the document is and the effect that it will have
  • Are able to retain the information they are given about the implications of the LPA long enough to decide whether they want to sign
  • Are able to weigh up the information and make a decision
  • Can communicate the decision

When the LPA is signed, a certificate provider will also sign the document, confirming that the donor had the necessary mental understanding.

This needs to be someone who has known the donor for at least two and who is not a relative or by a professional with the training to certify mental capacity, such as a doctor, solicitor, social worker or mental health professional. If there may be a question later on as to whether the individual had the necessary understanding, it is recommended that a professional certificate provider is used.

What happens if someone with dementia cannot sign an LPA

If someone no longer has the mental capacity to sign an LPA, their family can apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order.

This appoints an individual to deal with the patient’s affairs. It is most commonly used for property and financial affairs, but a health and welfare order can also be requested.

The order will specify exactly what the deputy can do. It takes longer to obtain a deputyship order, the process is more expensive and it involves more ongoing costs and supervision than using an LPA, so where possible, it is preferable to put an LPA in place.

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