Everys solicitors act for a wide range of individuals both in relation to ordinary, enduring and lasting powers of attorney. The ideal position is to assist individuals in preparing legal documents prior to any diagnosis of dementia. However, we are often contacted when the family reach a critical point and a dementia diagnosis has been confirmed.
A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that an individual lacks capacity. Capacity can fluctuate and varies according to the nature of the task being performed or the decision in question. Capacity is therefore both time and fact specific. At Everys solicitors, we would usually meet with the individual in question, called “P” by the Courts, and their next of kin. At that initial meeting we would establish what paperwork is in place and if there are no existing powers of attorney we would discuss whether there is sufficient capacity to prepare lasting powers of attorney in order to ensure that P can nominate the individual(s) they want to assist them in managing their affairs in the future.
If an individual is found to have the requisite capacity then we would arrange a capacity report, usually from an elderly client psychiatrist, who would then act as witness and certificate provider. If an individual does not have the requisite capacity then it is necessary for the family to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship. Although this is a more costly procedure both in time and money terms, it means that regardless of whether P has capacity, Everys’ Private Client team can ensure that there is the correct legal document in place to ensure that someone can manage the affairs of an individual living with dementia who is unlikely to be able to continue managing their own affairs.
Article by Emma Gray