What to do if there is no Lasting Power of Attorney?

Planning for the future is not something everybody thinks about. They just want to live for the moment and enjoy life. But what happens if suddenly they have a stroke and/or are diagnosed with dementia and have nothing in place and no one appointed as attorney?

Sometimes it may still be possible to do a Lasting Power of Attorney at this point, but not always. If the person has already lost capacity what can be done?

In situations like this if the person has property and bank accounts then an individual or a number of people can apply to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy for the person who has lost capacity.

A deputy is someone appointed by the Court to make decisions for someone who is unable to do so.

The deputy must be over 18 and can be a friend or a family member. The deputy must act in the best interest of the person for whom they are acting and they can only make decisions authorised by the Court.

A deputy will usually operate bank accounts and savings accounts. They can sell property if authorised and if they are unsure of their powers they can go back to the Court for guidance or a further order.

During your appointment as a Deputy you will have to make regular reports to the Office of The Public Guardian. The reports will show what decisions you have made and how you have acted. You will have to keep copies of all paperwork and any bank statements.

Your appointment will usually last until the person for whom you are acting dies. It can end for other reasons if the court believes you are not acting in the best interests of the person who has lost capacity.

The responsibility of becoming a deputy is not one to be taken lightly but at least you know that if your relative is in this situation all is not lost.

by Sarah Lamb from the Wisbech office