What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”)?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables to you appoint one or more people (known as an Attorneys) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney, which are:
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA – this allows your Attorneys to deal with your Property and financial matters, including paying your bills, collecting your income/pension, dealing with your bank accounts, selling or renting your Property (some restrictions and conditions may apply). This does not allow your Attorneys to deal with your personal welfare.
- Health and Welfare LPA – this allows your Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare, including whether to give or refuse life sustaining treatment and whether it is in your best interests to move to a care home. These decisions can only be made by your Attorney, without your specific consent, once you have lost mental capacity and are unable to make the decisions yourself. This does not allow your Attorneys to deal with your Property and Financial Affairs.
You can have one or both of these.
Do you need a lasting Power of Attorney?
Most people think that only ‘old’ people need a Lasting Power of Attorney, but that isn’t necessarily the case.
If you suffer a physical or mental incapacity, then having your Lasting Power of Attorney in place can be invaluable – it can make your life much easier and less stressful for you and your loved ones. This mental incapacity could be from something as simple as falling over and banging your head, an accident, a stroke or the onset of dementia – we don’t know what life is going to throw at us!
Having a valid LPA in place will ensure that the person(s) you trust the most are the ones who will be making those important decisions on your behalf.
How do you make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are official forms that need to be completed and signed by you and your Attorneys, in the presence of an independent witness.
In addition to this, the Lasting Power of Attorney needs to be signed by a ‘certificate provider’. A ‘Certificate Provider’ is someone who:
- signs to confirm that they’ve discussed the document with you;
- that you understand what you are doing; and
- that nobody if forcing you to do it.
There are specific rules as to who this ‘certificate provider’ can be and we are pleased to say that we can provide you with this service.
The official forms can be quite confusing but we can help guide you through this process and prepare the forms on your behalf ensuring that they will be correct when registration takes place.
When will the Lasting Power of Attorney come into effect?
Once your Lasting Power of Attorney has been signed by all the necessary parties it becomes effective but cannot be used by your Attorneys unless it is registered at the Office of Public Guardian (“OPG”). Please note that there is a registration fee of £82 per document payable to the OPG.
You have a choice to register your Lasting Power of Attorney’s immediately and your Attorneys have the option to use them as soon as they are registered, but only with your consent while you retain mental capacity.
Alternatively, we can hold your signed Lasting Power of Attorney’s in readiness for registration. There are ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ for each option and it depends on your individual circumstances but we can help to advise you of the best option for you.
What happens to your Lasting Power of Attorney if you pass away?
Your Lasting Power of Attorney is only effective during your lifetime. If you pass away, your LPA is no longer valid and your Attorneys power will end.