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Does increase in Mental Capacity Act orders mean planning for the future is left too late?

The latest government statistics show that the number of orders made under the Mental Capacity Act grew to 38,945 in 2017: 50% higher than 2016, with 40% relating to the appointment of a deputy for property and affairs.  However, producers of the statistics do say that part of the increase is due to better reporting and a clearing out of outstanding cases in the first quarter of 2017.

Chris Shaw lasting power of attorney

Chris Shaw

The Mental Capacity Act relates to people aged 16 and over who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.  It sets out a legal framework on how day to day decisions, such as what to wear and what to eat, and more serious decisions relating to issues such as going into a home or having an operation, should be made.  It is designed to ensure that these people are properly looked after and are not taken advantage of.

Number of lasting powers of attorney increase

Also, during 2017, lasting powers of attorneys (LPAs) registered increased by 28% on the whole, although in the last quarter of the year, the percentage increase dropped to 18% over the same period in 2016.  This continues the general upward trend in the number of LPAs registered over the last two years.

Getting a lasting power of attorney in place reduces delays

Chris Shaw, a member of Graysons’ private client team and a specialist in lasting powers of attorneys says:

“Despite the growth in the number of LPAs registered, the increase in applications under the Mental Capacity Act could indicate that people are leaving it too late to appoint their own attorneys by making a lasting power of attorney.  LPAs can only be made before the donor (the person making the LPA) loses mental capacity. There are two types of LPA, both meant to give someone the right to deal with the affairs of the donor, should they wish it or lose mental capacity.  A property and affairs LPA allows the attorney to look after issues such as property and money and can be acted upon as soon as it is registered.  A personal affairs LPA allows the attorney to deal with issues such as health, day to day care and where the donor should live.  It can only be acted upon when it is registered and the donor has lost mental capacity.  Having the protection of an LPA in place means that the donor can choose who they want to look after their affairs, rather than having that decision made for them when the necessity arises.  It is also much quicker than having to apply to the Court of Protection if no power of attorney is in place.”

If you want to know more about powers of attorney and how they can help protect you and your family, contact our experts now.  You can also find out more on our web pages.

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