Even if we have heard of the Court of Protection many of us are confused by the role it plays. Who is it protecting? Why do we not hear about its decisions?
This confusion is not surprising when it acts behind closed doors to make controversial rulings on a daily basis about the lives of the most vulnerable people in society. It performs therefore a vital function in protecting the best interests of those who do not have the capacity to look after themselves.
More and more frequently it is being asked to sanction medical decisions that will either prolong a patient’s life or allow death to take its course.
That being said you do not need to look far on the internet to find angry stories about the Court of Protection and in particular the costs of dealing with it – sometimes to obtain approval to pay relatively small bills, for instance.
Most of these stories are where individuals have failed to set up Lasting Powers of Attorney in their lifetime and their family have had to apply to the Court to become a Deputy, an expensive and long process. Once a Deputy, the Court carefully monitors what you do for the patient and frequent applications to it are a normality with the associated costs.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
To avoid this we should all consider setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney so that people we chose can look after our affairs should we ever lose capacity. You might be in the fullest of health and have even got round to making a Will but that leaves no provision for ending up in limbo with dementia or other medical conditions where you can no longer make a decision for yourself.
The process is not difficult and once the document is registered at the Court of Protection it can be used immediately should necessity require it.