Power of Attorney advice for Care Home Managers

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Many people have heard the term ‘Power of Attorney’ but understanding exactly what this means, whether it is relevant to your residents, and if so, how to set one up, is not always clear.

Put simply, a Power of Attorney enables your residents to choose people they trust to manage their affairs if they become mentally or physically incapable. Since October 2007, it has been possible to create two forms of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). The Property and Affairs LPA enables attorneys to assist with, and if necessary completely manage, all financial aspects for your residents and the Personal Welfare LPA enables attorneys to make welfare and healthcare decisions should the resident lack capacity.

Whilst it is true that not everyone will require the assistance of others to manage their affairs, it is also true that mental incapacity can affect anyone so ensuring that practical arrangements are in place to ease the stress should this occur, is eminently sensible.

Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) existed prior to October 2007. These EPAs are still perfectly valid and can be operated in much the same way as the new Property and Affairs LPA. One point of note is that EPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian if the donor of the power is or is becoming mentally incapable of managing their affairs. This process can take up to three months to complete and the attorneys have limited powers during this time. LPAs on the other hand, must be registered whether or not the donor is mentally capable and as a result, the registration process is usually dealt when the LPA is first prepared, thereby reducing any delays when it becomes necessary for the attorneys to start acting.

Should you have a resident that requires a Property and Affairs LPA and needs to appoint an attorney, we as solicitors are happy to offer this service. It is essential to have this in place before your resident loses mental capacity although LPAs can still be prepared for those residents who are physically incapacitated.

If, however, your resident has already lost mental capacity without having either an EPA or LPA in place, an application can be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to act. This is far more costly, time consuming and stressful for both you as a care provider and your resident. However, should this happen we can assist with the application to the Court of Protection.


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