What happens if I lose mental capacity?

Whilst it is not something we like to think would ever happen to us, being prepared could save you and your family a lot of distress and thousands of pounds. By law, if there is no Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place and you lose capacity, anyone wanting to make even some of the simplest decisions on your behalf, such as paying your bills, must apply for a Deputyship Order through the Court of Protection. This applies even to spouses and can be a costly, lengthy process.

Not only can this add to the stress of an already difficult time, but it also does not give the deputy autonomous authority; they may still need to gain permission from the court for certain decisions and pay fees for continued supervision.

However, with a registered LPA in place, the process of managing your finances and care is made much easier. Providing your attorney can present your LPA and proof of identification when registering decisions, such as with healthcare staff or your bank, and is acting in your best interests, they will be able to carry out the management of your affairs without consultation with the courts or ongoing supervision. This ensures that you receive the best support right from the start and avoids undue stress and expenses for your loved ones trying to care for you during a difficult time.

Type of Decision

With an LPA

Without an LPA

Bank accounts

Your Property & Financial Affairs attorney is able to access and manage your accounts on your behalf.

Your sole bank accounts are frozen, and joint accounts could potentially be frozen too.

Bills

Your Property and Financial Affairs attorney can pay your bills from your accounts as normal, ensuring nothing falls overdue.

Your money cannot be used to pay your bills.

Investments

Your Property and Financial Affairs attorney can make investment decisions on your behalf, making sure your portfolio is always managed.

No investment decisions can be made. Any previous authority given to manage decisions is cancelled.

Property

Your Property and Financial Affairs attorney can make decisions regarding any property you own or have a stake in, such as selling property if required.

Property cannot be sold, even if a cohabiting partner or joint owner wants to sell.

Medical treatment

Your Health and Welfare attorney can make decisions regarding your treatment or care.

Your healthcare provider will make any and all decisions relating to your treatment and care.

Living arrangements

Your Health and Welfare attorney can make personal choices on your behalf, such as where you will live.

Your family/next of kin will have no say in your living choices, such as where you will live.

The cost of not having an LPA

As mentioned above, if there is no LPA in place, your family may need to apply for a Deputyship Order to make decisions on your behalf, potentially even to make decisions regarding your shared home or joint bank accounts. Applying for a Deputyship Order involves additional costs that are much higher than the cost of creating an LPA, and your loved ones will likely face ongoing fees to retain decision making powers. Our cost breakdown table shows some of the expenses that your family would likely encounter in the first year of acquiring a Deputyship Order.

What could not having an LPA cost you?

£1,770

Medical Evidence: £500
Application Fee: £365
Hearing Fee: £485
Assessment Fee: £100
General Supervision Fee: £320p/a

Data obtained from gov.uk, 2021