Deputyships and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are roles with much in common. Both legal appointments, they’re designed to manage the affairs of individuals suffering from mental incapacity. The two positions are both appointed to make decisions on behalf of an individual regarding financial matters, healthcare and welfare but they differ in the path taken to appoint them.
If a person loses mental capacity and can no longer make decisions, it is possible to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed.
This application is typically made by a family relation but isn’t always someone the patient would approve to make decisions for them.
To qualify for deputyship, a person must be over 18 years of age and any convictions must be fully disclosed. Only an individual with approval from the Court of Protection will be allowed to act as a deputy.
If the mentally incapacitated person doesn’t have a close relative to apply for deputyship, the Court is empowered to appoint a solicitor or local authority to act as professional deputy.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Unlike a deputy, an LPA is appointed before an individual is unable to make decisions for themselves. Any powers given to the LPA will be decided by the individual giving them total control of what happens to their affairs should they become incapacitated. If the individual doesn’t have a relative they want to name as LPA, they can nominate a solicitor of their choice rather than have this decided for them.
Made prior to a patient losing mental capacity, LPAs are usually a better reflection of an individual’s wishes than a court appointed deputy.