A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as ‘Attorneys’) to help you manage your affairs and make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
An LPA is a legal document (a deed) created under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 that allows you to appoint a person or persons you trust by giving them the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf when you become unable to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of LPA which together cover all aspects of your life – Property and Finance, and Health and Welfare.
You can appoint more than one attorney to act for you, and you can choose different attorneys for the different types of LPA. Once appointed, your attorneys can manage your finances, which can include selling your home, and/ or make decisions relating to your health and welfare, which includes where you will live and the granting/ refusal of life sustaining treatment. You can also include instructions on how the powers are to be enacted and you can add guidance for your attorneys to refer to when they are deciding what is in your best interests.
Health and Welfare LPA
The Health and welfare LPA gives an attorney the power to make decisions about matters relating to your personal welfare:
- Your daily routine, for example washing, dressing, eating
- Medical care
- Moving into a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment
It can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
- Managing a bank or building society account
- Paying bills
- Collecting benefits or a pension
- Selling your home
It can be used as soon as it’s registered, with your permission.
How Do I Choose My Attorneys?
As you are likely to be asking your attorney(s) to become involved in important matters relating to your financial and/or health matters, you need to make sure that you choose the right person(s). Generally, you would choose someone you trust - your husband, wife or partner, a trusted relative or close friend who has sufficient ability to carry out your wishes.
If you have any concerns about the suitability of your potential attorney(s) then you should reconsider and perhaps appoint someone else, for instance, a professional such as your solicitor.
When choosing an attorney it is advisable to think about:
- How well they look after their own affairs, for example their finances
- How well you know them
- If you trust them to make decisions in your best interests
- How happy they will be to make decisions for you
How do I make an LPA?
You must have mental capacity to create a LPA, and you will need someone who is called a ‘certificate provider’ to verify this and confirm that you are not under any duress to create the LPA. We would recommend that you use a suitable professional, such as a solicitor or doctor, who are able to assess capacity and ensure that all requirements are satisfied.
A lasting power of attorney is only valid when it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, which takes approximately 8 to 12 weeks, and there is a registration fee (subject to income) per deed.
We provide specialist advice to enable you to have peace of mind and make sure that your LPAs are robust to stand the test of time. Not only do we advise you, we can also support your attorneys and offer them guidance. We offer free consultations to enable you to then choose how you wish to proceed without any obligation. If you would like further information about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact a member of our specialist private client team at our Whickham or Cramlington office.
What happens to your finances and to your welfare if you lose mental capacity and you cannot make decisions for yourself?
All of your finances and assets (including those that any jointly owned) are effectively ‘frozen’. Your next of kin will not be able to help as they do not have the legal authority to do so.
Your health and welfare matters, including where you will live, what treatment you will receive, will be open to having decisions made by third parties.
If you lose your mental capacity, no one can automatically assume responsibility for managing your affairs, not even your spouse, partner or your children. A lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows you to anticipate for a future loss of mental capacity, by appointing one or more attorneys to make these decisions on your behalf.
If you have lost your mental capacity, then it is too late to make a LPA and someone will have to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your deputy to deal with your financial and personal affairs. The deputyship process is much more complicated, time consuming, restrictive and expensive than an LPA, and many families find this an unwelcome burden at an already difficult time. Finances are not able to be accessed until the deputyship has been granted and there are also ongoing annual costs to be paid to the Court. You also cannot guarantee that the person eventually appointed as your Deputy with the Court of Protection would be the person that you would have chosen to deal with your personal affairs.
Our fees for preparing LPA’s are as follows:
|One LPA document||£295 + VAT|
|Two LPA documents||475 + VAT|
|Four LPA documents||£795 + VAT|
|Office of the Public Guardian Registration Fee||£82 per document|
Our LPA Team
Geoff Laws and Sarah Gray are our Wills, Probate and LPA specialists who will be at hand every step of the process giving you peace of mind. For more information please call us on 0191 5009337 or 01670 707338 enter your name and number and we'll call you back.
For further information from the UK Care Guide on Lasting Powers of Attorney click here.