Well, not necessarily.
I often hear that someone has “lost capacity”. It is as if you either have capacity or you do not. As if there is a switch which can be turned off and on.
That is wrong. Capacity is not like that.
Imagine this, for instance. Every time you go to a shop and buy a newspaper you are making a contract. A contract to buy in exchange for money. You would have to be highly incapacitated no longer to be able to buy a paper.
Capacity is the ability to make decisions and just because there is a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s does not mean that the ability to make decisions has been lost.
Of course, that does happen with some people but, often, not for a long time.
So the question to be considered is “Capacity to do what?”.
Buying a paper is one contract and entering to a technically difficult financial decision is another. You may have capacity to the one but not the other.
This is where a Power of Attorney comes in and, mainly, because it is like an insurance policy. In the event that you end up losing capacity, someone can make decisions for you. Nobody likes that idea but we all know it happens. After all, we take out insurance for something that we don’t want to happen but we think that it might.
A modern Scottish Power of Attorney allows two things: –
- 1. Whilst you still have capacity, the ability to give one or more loved ones the right to carry out tasks that you might otherwise do. For instance, going to the bank or arranging for your telephone, if you can’t be bothered. and;
- When you have lost capacity to make decisions about these things, the ability to give the right to make such decisions plus those relating to issues about your welfare. These might be about your health, where you live, what you wear, who you see and other matters of looking after you.
So, if you are concerned that you might be affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s (and who doesn’t), you might want to consider a Power of Attorney.
Going to a solicitor is an expensive option.
MyScottishAttorney which has been written by a solicitor is considerably less expensive and it is all laid out for you.
There is a lot of free information, for instance, the Frequently Asked Questions page. And you do not pay until you are satisfied.
To use it you must have a doctor or consultant (or lawyer) who is willing to sign to say that he or she saw the person sign and sign the form (supplied) that says that “I am satisfied that, at the time this Power of Attorney was granted, the granter understood its nature and extent” so that is the first port of call. If the doctor is willing to sign you can save a lot of money.
I hope this is helpful.
MyScottishAttorney is that by a limited company.