My mum/dad has dementia and has lost capacity.
What can I do?

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The bank won’t talk to me and I have to pay her bills. What can I do?

When your parent is declared to no longer have the capacity to make legal decisions, it is often as a result of an ACAT assessment or by a general practitioner or geriatrician.

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If you are concerned that your parent is not able to make decisions for themselves, or their decisions put them at risk, seek professional advice and assessment for your parent.

It is important at this point to get a document from the professional making this assessment which certifies that your parent no longer has legal capacity, or arrange to collect the document very soon after. This certification will provide you with the power to seek a legal way to act for your parent.

If you know who your parent’s solicitor is, call them and make an appointment to find your parent’s Enduring Power of Attorney, which may be in the solicitor’s safe custody. You will need to have identification and the original letter or certificate which declares your parent’s incapacity. This document will only be released to you if you are an appointed Attorney in your parent’s Enduring Power of Attorney.

If you obtain the Enduring Power of Attorney, and you are appointed as your parent’s Attorney, this enables you to act legally with the powers appointed to you in the document. You are your parent’s ‘substituted decision maker’. Those powers may be for financial affairs, or health/personal matters, or both. You will need to obtain certified copies from the solicitor to provide to organisations or any government department you parent deals with. E.g. Centrelink; the bank.

If there is no Enduring Power of Attorney in place, you will have to apply your parent’s guardianship and Administration through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Your duties and responsibilities are described in the Powers of Attorney Act 1998 (Qld) and include general responsibilities (to guide you in decision-making). For your full responsibilities, refer to Schedule 1 of Powers of Attorney Act 1998 (Qld), available at the following site: legislation.qld.gov.au

For more information, get in touch with Big Law Solicitors on (07) 3482 6999 or email us at mail@biglaw.com.au.

At Big Law we provide holistic legal solutions to legal matters.

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