A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to appoint a trusted representative to deal with financial and/or health matters should you ever become incapable of managing them yourself.
You can make a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, which allows your attorney to make decisions about your care and wellbeing. You can also make a Property and Financial Lasting Power of Attorney which gives your attorney the right to take care of financial matters for you.
People often think that if something happens, a loved one can simply step in to deal with their affairs on their behalf, however this is not the case. If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and you become unable to manage your affairs, it could cause difficulty for your family.
Without legal authorisation, your loved ones will not be able to deal with your finances, meaning that no-one will be able to access your bank account and bills could go unpaid. They would need to apply to the court for a deputyship order, which can take around six months to obtain. In the meantime, no decisions could be made for you.
At Wells Burcombe, we understand that making this type of provision for the future can be a difficult issue to think about. Our team members are sensitive, friendly and approachable and we are always happy to talk through the situation with you to make sure that you understand the process.
We find that once our clients have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, it provides reassurance and the peace of mind of knowing that, should something happen, a chosen and trusted representative can step in to help.
Our Lasting Power of Attorney fees
We want to make good quality legal advice available to everyone. For this reason, we ensure that our fees are competitive.
We offer a fixed fee service for straightforward LPAs so that you will know exactly how much it will cost.
Lasting Power of Attorney FAQs
What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Lasting Powers of Attorney or LPAs are legal documents that give someone else the power to make decisions on your behalf once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
What is the role of someone acting under a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The person appointed as an attorney under an LPA has a duty to act in your best interests when making decisions on your behalf.
They are required to act in accordance with the terms of the LPA which could include restrictions on financial actions or instructions about what decisions can be made regarding life-sustaining treatments.
Someone who has been appointed as an attorney under a Health and Welfare LPA cannot make financial decisions for you unless they have also been made an attorney under a financial LPA and vice versa.
The role of a financial attorney will usually require the attorney to make decisions in respect of all of your financial matters, such as paying bills, dealing with your bank account and managing any property you own.
A health and welfare attorney will make decisions regarding your day-to-day care, where you will live and who you will see, as well as making choices about your medical treatment.
When are Lasting Powers of Attorney legally able to be used?
An LPA needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before the attorney can start acting in their role. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used while you still have capacity, for example, if you are finding it difficult to get to the bank, your attorney could use their authority under the LPA to deal with this for you.
A Health and Welfare LPA cannot be used until you are no longer capable of making your own decisions.
What powers does a Lasting Power of Attorney have?
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can give your attorney the power to deal with all of your financial matters, including the following:
- Buying or selling property
- Paying your bills, to include mortgage or rent
- Making investments on your behalf
- Maintaining your property
It is open to you to include restrictions in your LPA.
With regard to a Health and Welfare LPA, your attorney can make decisions that include the following:
- Deciding where you will live
- What medical care you will receive
- What activities you will do and who you will see
- What you will eat
You can include specific instructions about medical treatment that you are prepared to receive, to include whether you want certain life-saving treatments.
How much do Lasting Powers of Attorney cost?
Registering an LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian costs £82 for each LPA. Some people qualify for a reduced or nil fee depending on the circumstances and we are happy to advise on this.
There is also a legal cost for having the LPA drawn up. These costs are considerably less than the expense of applying to the court for a deputyship order, should an LPA not be made. In addition, deputyship generally involves more expense on an ongoing basis in respect of reporting and oversight by the Office of the Public Guardian.
What is a Business Lasting Power of Attorney?
Business Lasting Powers of Attorney allow business owners to appoint someone to make business decisions on their behalf, should they become unable to do this themselves, for example, through illness or injury.
Without this type of provision in place, a business could become paralysed if the business owner was unable to access bank accounts or make key decisions.
A Business LPA can also be used if the business owner is overseas and temporarily unable to deal with matters.
The choice of attorney will need to be someone who is familiar with the business and who will be able to step in and understand what needs to be done.
What is the difference between Enduring Powers of Attorney and Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Enduring Powers of Attorney were a legal option that existed before Lasting Powers of Attorney were introduced on 1 October 2007. Enduring Powers of Attorney were limited to acting in respect of financial affairs only.
Can I still use an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney created before 1 October 2007 is still valid. It can be used by the attorney from the moment that it is signed and does not need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian until the person who signed it loses the capacity to act on their own behalf.
How can a Lasting Power of Attorney be registered and used?
You can register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian while you still have capacity. You can select up to five people to be notified when your LPA is registered. This is by way of a safeguard so that there is an opportunity for objections to be raised if anyone has concerns.
Once you have made an LPA, you should also notify those close to you. For an LPA for Health, you should notify your GP and others involved in your healthcare.