With some legal issues you have to deal with problems that people often find hard to discuss. One particularly sensitive issue is the loss of mental capacity. One way to provide peace of mind is to nominate someone (or for you to provide the nominated service for someone else) to apply for power of attorney.

The phrase “power of attorney” can worry some people. They may be afraid this means that their nominated representative could control their legal or financial affairs. It has to be stressed that this is not the case.

In simple terms, this is about someone being able to handle your legal affairs if you do not feel you would be able to do so at some point in the future. The process is tightly controlled and is very much about ensuring that people are properly protected in the event of the loss of any mental capacity.

Any nominated representative needs to fill in a LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) form. Once it has been completed it has to be signed in the presence of a witness who has to confirm that the person filling in the form is aware of their responsibilities, that the person granting the power of attorney was not coerced in any way and that there were no other factors that could affect the validity of the LPA document.

The certificate can be signed either by someone who has known the applicant for two years or someone with “relevant professional skills and expertise”. The benefit of using a legal firm such as Larcomes is that you get people who have the relevant skills and experience as well as being neutral and objective (The person witnessing the LPA form being signed cannot be a relative, business partner or employee and if the person involved is in a care home then the witness cannot be involved in the care home where they currently live).

The reason this is important is what happens if you do not nominate someone. In this circumstance, someone would have to apply to the Court of Protection and this process is often very lengthy, expensive and for the people involved can often be very stressful and intrusive.

It should also be emphasised that this is not a “one size fits all” process. Different people will have different legal requirements. Therefore you need to have a legal representative who can guide you through the process and ensure that everything is handled in the right way.

If you would like to know more about the process of nominating someone for power of attorney or any other legal issues arising from mental capacity issues then it is worth contacting the experienced professionals at Larcomes who can guide you through the process and make sure that you are aware of what is going on, what the process of power of attorney entails and ensuring that the legal process of transferring that power is handled in the correct way and for the right reasons.