Mental health is not always taken as seriously as it should and the term crisis is unfortunately correctly used.

However there is way to assist from a legal perspective should an individual suffer from short or long term mental illness. It will be necessary to prepare lasting powers of attorney whilst they are well.

If an individual lacks capacity to make a financial decision then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for an appropriate order, such as appointing another person to make decisions on their behalf. This is both costly and time consuming.

An LPA is a legal document that allows an individual to voluntarily appoint someone they trust to make decisions and act on their behalf should they lose mental capacity.

An individual can appoint person/(s) to make decisions for the following matters:

(a) Personal welfare matters: cover decisions relating to care and lifestyle needs, etc.

(b) Property and affairs matters: cover decisions relating to bank accounts, insurance, property and other assets.

Most care and treatment decisions can be made on without the need for a court application, but social services are now asking for an LPA as a matter of course. LPAs are essential in situations where the individual has a second marriage and there children from a former marriage (unless everyone gets along) or where there are family disputes. It is vitally important for an individual to appoint an attorney to prevent family dispute over their care and welfare.