A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives someone else (the Attorney) the ability to make decisions for you if you can no longer make them for yourself.
No one expects an accident or illness to affect their ability to make their own decisions – this is known as mental capacity. But if the worst happens, a Lasting Power of Attorney can give you peace of mind that the person who will make decisions for you will be someone you trust.
In England and Wales, if you don’t have an LPA in place when you need one, a family member would have to apply to the Court of Protection to become your Deputy. This can take more than 12 months. Your family could not legally make any decisions about your health, welfare, property or finances until a Deputy is appointed.
This is why Lasting Powers of Attorney are so important.
Our Wills and Trust Solicitors offer free initial legal advice and can help you put your Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.
Special Offer – Make a Will online checked by a Solicitor, and 2 Lasting Powers of Attorney for £720 (VAT included).
For more information or free initial legal advice call our Wills and Trusts Solicitors.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a really important document, because it gives whoever you choose to be your Attorney the legal right to make certain decisions for you.
There are 2 kinds of Lasting Powers of Attorney in England and Wales:
- Health and Welfare
This LPA gives the Attorney power to make decisions about your healthcare and personal welfare. This kind of Power of Attorney can only be used if you lack the mental capacity to make your own decisions.
- Property and Finances
This LPA gives the Attorney power to make decisions about your property and financial affairs. You don’t need to have lost mental capacity for this Power of Attorney to be used. This can be done as soon as it’s registered with the Office of Public Guardian (OPG).
When you make a Lasting Power of Attorney, you’ll be known as the Donor and our Wills and Trust Solicitors can help you make either or both Lasting Powers of Attorney at the same time.
Why Make Both Lasting Powers of Attorney?
It’s best to make both LPAs in one go so that you’re covered for any situation. Remember, your Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once you lose mental capacity. Hopefully this will never happen, but if it does you know you have someone you trust make important decisions for you.
You can appoint different Attorneys to each Lasting Power of Attorney if you want to. We recognise that looking after your finances or deciding what medical treatment should get are very different types of decisions.
It’s really important to choose someone you trust to be your Attorney. But don’t worry, you can change your Lasting Power of Attorney whenever you want to, for example if you get a divorce and want to remove your former partner from your LPAs.
For more information about why you should make an LPA, click the image below for our handy guide
Do I Need a Solicitor to Make an LPA?
No you don’t, but there are some clear benefits to using legal experts. For example:
- The Lasting Power of Attorney forms are long and can be complicated. Our Wills and Trusts Solicitors have filled out many LPA forms so can take the weight off your shoulders
- The forms ask a lot of questions that you might not know the answers to or weren’t expecting. We can explain what each part of each form means and advise you on how to answer each section
- This is a very important document so you don’t want to make errors on the form. Our Solicitors are experts at what they do, so we’ll make sure there are no mistakes
- Registering your Lasting Power of Attorney with the OPG is a long process, so using a Solicitor will help make sure there are no issues along the way
- If you’re not sure who to appoint as your Attorney, you could always appoint a Solicitor who can make unbiased decisions for you that you know will be fair and measured.
Our Wills and Trusts Solicitors offer a friendly and personal service. We know that it can be difficult to make these tough decisions, but we can use our expertise and provide guidance to help you protect your future by putting your Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.
Benefits of Lasting Powers of Attorney
Some of the advantages of having LPAs in place are:
- The cost of a Lasting Power of Attorney is less than a quarter of how much your family would have to pay to apply for a Deputyship with the Court of Protection
- A Lasting Power of Attorney can be used straight away if you lose mental capacity, but the process of applying to be a Deputy can take well over a year. This can cause long delays for important decisions
- You can choose who will make decisions for you and pick who decides what, so you know the best person is in charge. If you don’t have anyone you feel completely safe trusting with decisions, a Solicitor can act for you
- You can change the document throughout your lifetime, so your Lasting Power of Attorney will always reflect your current wishes.
How Much Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Cost?
Each LPA costs just £82 to register with the Office of the Public Guardian (the governing body that keeps the records for LPAs).
A Court of Protection application to be a Deputy currently costs £385. So it really is worth the money to get an LPA while you still have full mental capacity.
If you need legal advice to help with your Lasting Powers of Attorney, then you’ll pay Solicitor Fees too. We will always be open and honest with you about how much it will cost right from the start.
We are always transparent about our fees and will tell you exactly how much it will cost before any work starts.
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Frequently asked questions
- Who is the Donor?
Anyone aged 18 or over, with the capacity to understand the nature and meaning of the document, can make a Lasting Power of Attorney and therefore can be a donor. However, an LPA is a personal document and a donor cannot make it jointly with another person. So, for example, spouses or civil partners would each need to make their own LPAs.
- Who can be an Attorney?
The Attorney must be 18 or over, have mental capacity and not be a bankrupt. The Attorney is the person chosen and appointed to take decisions regarding the donor’s personal welfare or property and affairs. It’s an important responsibility and the donor should ensure that the Attorney is willing to be appointed and able and capable of taking those decisions.
- What are the Attorney’s Responsibilities?
The Attorney cannot act until after the LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. With a Property and Financial LPA, the Attorney can act even if the donor still has mental capacity, as long as the LPA is registered. With a Health and Welfare LPA, the Attorney can only act if the donor lacks mental capacity.
In any event, the Attorney must act within the scope of the authority given in the LPA and in accordance with the principles set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. In particular, the Attorney must have regard to the guidance in the Code of Practice to the Mental Capacity Act and must only act or make decisions in the donor’s best interests.
- How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a formal legal document and must be completed carefully. To complete it, you need to consider the following points:
- Who is to be the Attorney? Is that person appropriate? Does he/she agree to be appointed?
- Do you wish to give general power to your Attorney, or limit or restrict the Attorney’s powers?
- Who is to provide a formal certificate of capacity? e.g a GP?
- Who is to be given formal notification of the application to register the LPA?
- Once you have considered these points, the document can be prepared, the certificate of capacity obtained, and notice given of the registration. The Lasting Power of Attorney can then be registered and, once registered, is ready for use.
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