There may come a time when a person with dementia is unable to make decisions about their care and finances. A lasting power of attorney appoints someone else to make decisions on their behalf, in their best interests.
A health and welfare attorney can only make decisions using their LPA if the person has lost the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
However, a property and financial affairs attorney can make decisions on their behalf as soon as the LPA is registered, with the person’s agreement, even if they still have mental capacity.
Mental capacity may come and go – for example, a person with dementia may temporarily lose capacity if they are experiencing delirium (sudden, extreme confusion, often due to an infection) or taking sedative medication.
For this reason, it is essential to weigh up whether the person has capacity each time an important decision has to be made.
For more information on mental capacity, see Sources of support, below.
a witness to the applicant’s and attorney’s signatures
a ‘certificate provider’, who confirms the applicant understands what they are doing and is not being forced to complete the LPA. This must be someone the person has known for two years or more, or a professional such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor. The witness can also be the certificate provider
A relative/friend or solicitor can help the applicant or fill in the forms for them, but they must be able to sign it themselves.
The person applying for the LPA can nominate up to five people who will be notified about the application and given the chance to raise any concerns. This is optional, but helps to ensure the person is not being pressured to make the LPA.
To do this, you must fill in a Form to Notify (LP3), available from the places above.
3. Register the LPA
Send the signed LPA form to the Office of the Public Guardian – the address is on the form.
It costs £82 to register each LPA, so if you make both a health and welfare LPA and a property and financial affairs LPA, the total fee is £164.
If an attorney needs to make a decision on the person’s behalf, they:
must act in the person’s best interests
must consider the person’s past and present wishes
cannot take advantage of the person to benefit themselves
must keep the person’s money separate from their own
If the attorney fails to follow these rules, the Office of the Public Guardian may investigate and the LPA may be cancelled. The attorney could be prosecuted if they are found to have taken advantage of the person with dementia.
It is possible for health professionals to override the views of the attorney(s) in the case of the health and welfare LPA if they believe the person’s best interests are not being met.
To speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse about making an LPA or any other aspect of dementia, please call our free Helpline at 0800 888 6678 (Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-9pm, every day except 25th December) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you prefer, you can pre-book a phone or video appointment with an Admiral Nurse here.
Dementia UK information that you may find helpful: