Lasting Powers of Attorney Explained

Ruth Wijay
Author:
Ruth Wijay
Head of Wills, Probate & Trusts
Date:
07/01/2019

*This article was updated on 27 April 2022.*

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to name one or more people you trust (known as your Attorney/s) to manage your affairs should you become unable to make decisions for yourself.

We understand that thinking about this can be difficult. But having a plan in place can provide peace of mind and give you more control in the long run.

After all, you never know when the day may come that you’re unable to make an important decision. While illnesses such as dementia can sometimes allow some time for you to plan ahead, that’s not the case if you’re impaired after a stroke or seriously injured in a car accident.

However, putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place means you are prepared for the worst, so the people you trust (your Attorney/s) are in a position to make the right decisions on your behalf.

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Types of Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), one for Property and Finances and one for Health and Welfare.

It’s easiest and best to put both LPAs in place at the same time because if you only put one in place, your Attorneys won’t be able to make decisions covered by the other one.

An LPA for Property and Finances covers areas such as:

  • managing a bank account;
  • paying bills;
  • collecting benefits or a pension;
  • selling your home.

An LPA for Health and Welfare covers areas including:

  • your daily routine (such as washing, dressing and eating);
  • medical care;
  • moving into a care home;
  • decisions regarding life sustaining treatment.

LPAs for property and finances can be used as soon as they’re registered if you wish. However, LPAs for health and welfare can only be used when the person who has made the document is no longer able to make these decisions for themselves.

Since the two types of LPAs are very different, you have the option of appointing certain Attorneys for one LPA and different Attorneys for the other.

How Could a Solicitor Help me set up an LPA?

You don’t need a Solicitor to set up an LPA. But many people still prefer to have a Solicitor assist them with preparing LPAs, as the forms are quite long. The forms also ask various questions, so it’s well worth having a Solicitor explain your various options so you get the outcome you want.

The Lasting Powers of Attorney registration process can also be lengthy, so having a Solicitor’s help can ensure there are no issues, and you can have an expert dealing with all the paperwork on your behalf.

A Solicitor can also act as a ‘certificate provider’.

What is a Certificate Provider?

A certificate provider will need to sign an LPA before you can register it. They must act as an independent judge of your mental capacity and their signature will be taken as confirmation that you understand the purpose of the LPA and no one is forcing you to set this up. 

An LPA certificate provider should be carefully chosen as they cannot hold any bias. They must also be over 18 and have mental capacity themselves. A certificate provider could be:

  • a person who has known you well for at least two years, usually a colleague or friend;
  • someone with the professional skills and expertise to give an opinion on your mental capacity, typically a doctor, social worker or Solicitor.

While it’s possible to use a non-legal professional as your certificate provider, instructing an experienced Wills and Trusts Solicitor will reduce the risk of your LPA being disputed in future. Get in touch for initial advice.

FAQ's

How Much Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Cost?

In England and Wales, there is a compulsory registration fee of £82 for each LPA (£164 for both a Property and Finance LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA). But if you earn less than £12,000 a year and can show evidence of this, you could get a 50% reduction, so you only pay £41 for each LPA.

It’s also important to note that you could be exempt from paying administration fees if you’re on certain means-tested benefits. You’ll need to provide copies of letters from a benefits provider demonstrating that you were receiving at least one of these benefits at the time of registering.

If you’re receiving legal advice to assist you with drawing up an LPA, you’ll also be required to pay Solicitors’ fees.

How Long Does it Take to Register an LPA?

When you complete your registration forms, they’ll be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The OPG will aim to finalise your registration within 20 weeks.

There will then be a four-week period where anyone can put forward an objection if they think you were pressurised or forced into filling in the registration forms. It will be up to the Court of Protection to decide whether any objections are valid.

The LPA will be activated as soon as it is registered, meaning the Attorney will be able to make decisions on your behalf straight away – it’s important to remember these will be limited to your property and finance unless you lose mental capacity.

Can I Change My Mind?

Yes. An LPA shouldn’t feel as if you’re signing your life away, so as long as you still have capacity to make decisions for yourself, you can change or end one or both LPAs whenever you wish. For instance, you might wish to remove one of your Attorneys or appoint a new Attorney.

LPAs are designed to be as flexible as possible to help you plan for the future effectively. This flexibility means you can ensure your Lasting Powers of Attorney are fit for purpose if the day comes that you’re no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

Our Wills and Trusts Solicitors can provide you with detailed advice about Lasting Powers of Attorney, so get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you.

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