Making decisions for someone else

Have you ever thought about what might happen if you were no longer able to make decisions about your own finances or your personal welfare? Or are you concerned about a loved one’s capacity to make decisions for themselves? You might have heard that you can make decisions for someone else by ‘appointing an Attorney’ or ‘having a Deputy,’ but perhaps aren’t sure exactly what this means or how they differ.

What is an Attorney?

You can appoint an Attorney by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). You can create an LPA at any time during your lifetime as long as you have the mental capacity to do so. Who you appoint as your Attorney will then make decisions on your behalf should you lose the mental capacity to make those decisions for yourself.

An Attorney can make decisions for someone else in relation to their health and welfare and property and financial affairs. Who you appoint as your Health and Welfare Attorney does not have to be the same person as your Property and Financial Affairs Attorney. If you have a Property and Financial Affairs Attorney, they can make decisions as soon as the LPA is registered but only with your permission.

What is a Deputy?

The key difference between an Attorney and a Deputy is that you cannot appoint a Deputy for yourself. Someone could apply to be your Deputy, but they can only do this if you already lack the capacity at the time it needs to be made.

A person may have lost capacity because of a serious brain injury or illness, dementia, or severe learning disabilities.

Appointing an Attorney or Deputy

An Attorney and Deputy can both act in relation to Property and Financial Affairs and Personal Welfare. If you are acting as an Attorney or a Deputy, you will have to make decisions in that person’s best interests.

To become a Deputy, you must be appointed by the Court. Whereas, to become an Attorney, the LPA must be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian. The court process is a much lengthier and costly process compared to the registration process of an LPA. This is important to note because if you require a Deputyship Order, it is not a quick process despite the fact that it could be urgently required. The person appointed as a Deputy may also not be the person you would expect or would have chosen for yourself.

How can we help?

If you would like to appoint an Attorney for yourself, contact us on 01392 256854 or for an initial conversation with a specialist lawyer from our Private Client team.