Deputyship or Lasting Power of Attorney
There is a difference between these two legal mechanisms; it’s important to understand that applying for a Deputyship under the Mental Capacity Act is not the same as making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Lasting Power of Attorney – LPA
An LPA is a legal document that enables someone aged 21 years or older (the donor) to voluntarily name a donee or donees, that will make decisions on the donor’s behalf, should they ever lose their mental capacity.
If someone has not made an LPA and they have lost their mental capacity, then a deputyship may be used. Most commonly, a family member will ask the Family Court for the power to make decisions on behalf of their mentally incapacitated family member.
For children with intellectual disabilities, their parents may apply to the Court to appoint themselves as their children’s deputy. In case the parent should die or themselves lose their mental capacity, someone else can also be named as a successor deputy at the same time.
More information regarding making a deputy application can be found here.
Advantages of an LPA over a Deputy
The best option for someone who still has their mental faculties, is to make an LPA, for the following reasons:
- LPAs allow the person themselves to make their own choice as to who they want to make decision on their behalf, when they no longer can. The risk with a Deputy is that the person who has lost their mental capacity may not have chosen that person, had they had the chance.
- The family members and loved ones involved will not have the stress of having to apply to court to become a Deputy if an LPA exists.
- Arguments over who is to become the deputy can arise.
- The timescale involved in applying to be a Deputy can be as long as six months, compared to an LPA which may take only two or three days.
- Deputy applications are significantly more expensive than LPAs.
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