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A modern problem in the healthcare sector is how residents will manage to pay their care home fees when they lack capacity.

This is a difficult time for both the resident and families, with families wanting to concentrate on making this move as easy as possible and not being concerned with how the bills will get paid. At Debenhams Ottaway we often receive calls from families and friends on behalf of their loved one to say that they need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), to enable the family to deal with their affairs, but find they have lost or are losing capacity.

How do we solve this problem?

The first is to establish capacity. If they have sufficient capacity to make an LPA then we can assist with this. If they do lack mental capacity then the Court of Protection is their only route. This is called a Deputyship Order.

Deputyship Orders can take between 6 – 9 months to be obtained, which can be frustrating for family members who cannot start dealing with that person’s financial affairs and pay their care fees until it is granted.

However, if no LPA is in place and a Deputyship Order is waiting to be granted, there are options for paying care fees in the interim.

  • Firstly the Local Authority can assist with funding until the Deputyship Order is granted and issued such as a Deferred Payment Scheme. However, it is limited as to what someone can do prior to the granting and issue of the Deputyship Order so this can be difficult.
  • Secondly, an Interim Order can be requested to enable the payment of some of the care fees but may not always be granted.
  • A third option is for family members or friends to pay the care fees in the interim which may not always be affordable.

Once the full Deputyship Order has been granted, the Deputy has a duty to clear all of that person’s debts and to ensure that going forward all care fees are paid on time and upon request. It can sometimes take them up to 6 weeks for the banks to respond to the registration of a Court Order which can cause further delay.

Deputyship Orders often need professional assistance which we can assist with. It is always advisable for a LPA to be put in place to ensure that the person who needs care is not affected by unnecessary financial complications which could also affect the care home.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.