Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs)

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Lasting Power of Attorney

You can choose who makes future decisions for you.

Dealing with money and welfare matters in old age or ill health can be difficult and worrying – perhaps even impossible.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you choose one or more people you trust to make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to in the future. These people become your Attorneys.

There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney: (LPA)

1. Financial Decisions

A Financial LPA allows your chosen Attorney(s) to make decisions about your finances and property, if there comes a time when you can’t manage your finances anymore. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits, or selling your house. However, if you wish to, you can restrict their powers, or place conditions on what they can do. It does not allow your Attorney to make decisions about your personal welfare.

LPA – Financial

Most clients assume if they lose their mental capacity, their partner would be able to carry on operating their bank accounts and dealing with their financial affairs.

However, this commonly held belief is incorrect. If you lose mental capacity, a medical officer has to contact the “Court of Protection”. This government office will freeze all your assets including your bank accounts. This not only means your sole accounts but any joint accounts that you have. A joint account can only operate with both parties having capacity. This situation continues for several months until the “Court of Protection” appoints a Deputy. This is also time consuming and extremely costly.

A Financial Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document where you nominate a spouse or trusted person to act on your behalf (your Attorney) and to look after your financial affairs if you lose capacity. Having a registered Lasting Power of Attorney in place means that your Attorney will have almost immediate access to your bank account and financial affairs.

2. Health & Care Decisions

A Health and Care LPA allows your chosen Attorney(s) to make decisions about things like: your daily routine e.g. what you like to eat and what to wear, medical care, moving into a care home and life-sustaining treatment. This type of lasting power of attorney can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.

LPA – Health & Care

If you lose capacity your loved ones do not have the authority to discuss your Health & Care needs with the Doctor.
With a Health & Care Lasting Power of Attorney your spouse or other loved ones can discuss your needs with the Doctor. The Doctor will listen to the nominated Attorney(s) as if it were the patient themselves.

When admitted to hospital, a nurse will ask if a registered Lasting Power of Attorney Health & Care document is available. This is noted on the admittance documents, which the Doctor refers to.
If no Health & Care document has been registered with the “Office of the Public Guardian”, the Doctor does not have to act on the families wishes with regards to the patient’s care.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can be an Attorney?

You can choose anyone you wish to be your Attorney, as long as they are over 18, they are able to make their own decisions and are not currently bankrupt or subject to a debt relief order. It’s important to think carefully about who you will appoint. Think about how well you know and trust them to make decisions in the best interests for you. Think about how they look after their own affairs, and whether they are reliable and able to carry out the role of attorney for you. You can choose to have more than one Attorney.

Lasting Power Of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney is an official document that allows you to choose people that you trust to make decisions on your behalf, about your property and financial affairs and/or your health and welfare, at a time in the future when you no longer wish, or are fully able, to make those decisions.

There are two types of LPA:

A "Property and Financial Affairs" LPA gives others the authority to deal with buying and selling your property, your bills, bank accounts and investments.

A "Health and Welfare" LPA covers decisions about health and care and even deciding where someone is to live. This can only be used if someone is incapable of dealing with such matters themselves.

What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone you trust to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions. There are a number of reasons why this may be necessary. Often it is forward planning if, for example, you have started to forget things and realsie you may lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.

What is mental capacity?
Mental capacity is the ability to make specific decisions at the time they need to be made. To have mental capacity you must understand the decision you need to make, why you need to make it, and the likely outcome of your decision. Some people will be able to make decisions about some things but not others. For example, they may be able to decide what to buy for dinner, but be unable to understand and arrange their home insurance. Needing more time to understand or communicate doesn’t mean you lack mental capacity. For example, having dementia does not necessarily mean that someone is unable to make any decisions for themselves. However, there may come a time when you’re unable to make your own decisions and someone else may need to make decisions for you.

What are the different types of power of attorney?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): an LPA for financial decisions and an LPA for health and care decisions. An LPA for financial decisions can cover things such as selling property, paying bills, arranging repairs to property. You can restrict the types of decisions your attorney can make, or let them make all decisions on your behalf. An LPA for health and care covers health and care decisions and can only be used once you have lost mental capacity. This is where help is needed to make decisions about things such as where you should live, your medical care, what you should eat and what kind of social activities you should take part in.

What is an attorney?
An attorney is someone appointed to act in the best interest of the person needing the LPA. An attorney does not need to be a legal professional, and they are often family members.

How much do you charge to create an LPA?
We charge just £498 per LPA.

Can I create a lasting power of attorney without a solicitor?
Yes. There is absolutely no need to use a solicitor to help you create a lasting power of attorney. You should know that most solicitors will charge you about five to ten times what we charge. It's not an exact science as very few solicitors are transparent about their pricing.

How long will it take to create my LPA?
For the vast majority of people, it will take less than an hour with our sophisticated online system. There is step by step guidance to guide you. If you need more time, then that's fine as our system auto-saves each section for you. Once you have finished the process, we will thoroughly check what has been entered and post it out to you. You will then just need to collect various signatures before you send the document to the court for registration.

What do I do once my LPA has been completed?
Once you recieve your LPA, you will need to send it to the Office of the Public Guardian for it to be registered along with the registration fee, if appropriate.

What happens if I do not register my Lasting Power of Attorney?
By setting up and registering a Lasting Power of Attorney you can be sure that decisions about your financial affairs and your health and welfare can be taken by one of more people of your choosing should you lose mental capacity in the future to make decisions on your own. If you do not set up a Lasting Power of Attorney before you lose mental capacity, your family will need to apply through the courts to become what is known as a deputy and this is an expensive and a very time consuming process.

When will my attorneys start making decisions for me?
Your attorneys will only start making decisions for you when you no longer have the mental capacity to do so. If you are registering a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, then your nominated attorney is not allowed to start making decisions until you cannot make them yourself. If you are registering a Property & Finances Lasting Power of Attorney then you are able to allow your nominated attorneys to act even if you still have the capacity to make your own decisions. This will not mean that they have taken over making decisions for you but it enables your nominated attorney to help you make decisions with regards to your property and finance.

How many attorneys should I appoint?
The number of attorneys you appoint is entirely your choice depending on your circumstances.
When can I apply to register for a Lasting Power of Attorney?
You are able to register for a Lasting Power of Attorney if you are over 18 years of age and still have the mental capacity to be able to make decisions for yourself and that you understand what you are doing by registering your Lasting Power of Attorney. This online form is only valid for use in England or Wales.
How long does it take for my Lasting Power of Attorney to be registered?
The time taken by the Office of the Public Guardian to register your Lasting Power of Attorney is usually between 8 and 10 weeks providing the forms have been correctly completed with all the required information.