Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)
What would happen if you, a loved one or even a business partner were to lose mental capacity? Serious illness or accidents can, unfortunately, occur at any time. Lasting Powers of Attorney allow you to appoint people you trust to make decisions about your health and finances, should you lose the ability to make those decisions yourself.
What are the different types of document?
There are two main types of Lasting Power of Attorney document, Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare.
Property and Financial Affairs
As the name suggests, this document is for making decisions about your finances. From everyday tasks like accessing bank accounts or paying bills and a mortgage, to making investments or buying and selling property. A spouse or next-of-kin does not automatically have the legal ability to make decisions or carry out these tasks, if you cannot do so yourself. A financial LPA is vital to allow family life to continue running as smoothly as possible.
You can also separate decision making for your business and personal affairs by making a Business Lasting Power of Attorney. This allows you to appoint attorneys who have relevant knowledge and skills to make business decisions on your behalf, ensuring your business can continue to operate successfully while you are unable to make decisions.
Health and Welfare
This document deals with decisions related to your medical care and health needs, such as:
- ensuring you have access to the medication or treatment you need
- arranging additional care at home or selecting an appropriate care provider, if needed
- whether or not life sustaining treatment is continued
Care providers will not provide medical information or involve family and friends in decisions about your care, unless they are named as an attorney in your Health and Welfare LPA.
What happens if I don't have Lasting Powers of Attorney?
If you lose mental capacity and don't have LPAs in place, an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This process can be expensive and takes many months, leaving you and your family or business in a very vulnerable position.
What is the process for putting these documents in place?
- After an initial discussion over the phone, a home visit or Zoom appointment is arranged at a date and time convenient for you
- At the appointment the different types of documents, the powers within them and the roles and responsibilities of the different individuals are explained and discussed
- Draft documents are then written and sent to you for checking within approximately two weeks
- Any changes that are needed are made and the documents are prepared for signing
- Another short appointment is arranged, or the documents are posted out, to be signed by you, your certificate provider and your attorneys. These signatures also need to be witnessed
- Once the documents are signed correctly, we send them to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration
- Once registered, the LPAs are sent back to us to be checked, before we bind them and pass them back on to you, ready to be used if and when needed
We are highly experienced in managing the registration process with the Office of the Public Guardian, which helps to ensure that problems and delays are avoided.
Lasting Power of Attorney jargon busting
The following terms are used in relation to LPAs:
Donor - The person who the LPAs are for
Certificate Provider - This is a person that has known you for at least two years, or an appropriate professional, who signs to say that the donor has mental capacity to make the LPAs and understands what they are
Attorney(s) - The trusted person or people that the donor chooses to make decisions on their behalf, if they are unable to do so. They are usually friends or family, not lawyers
Replacement Attorney(s) - An additional attorney or attorneys that would step in to act if one or more of the original attorneys was not willing or able to
Mental Capacity - To make any decision you must have the ability to understand the nature and potential effects of that decision. Part of our professional responsibility is to ensure that you have the required mental capacity to make LPAs and advise you on the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
Office of the Public Guardian - the government body which registers Lasting Powers of Attorney and oversees and regulates their use
Enduring Power of Attorney - The predecessor to Lasting Powers of Attorney, these were replaced in October 2007. If you have one, it may still be registered and used, but we recommend creating new LPAs as these have greater powers and can be registered in advance, rather than waiting until someone has lost capacity
The above fee includes the following:
- Completing the LPA documents for ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ and ‘Health and Personal Welfare’ and acting as a certificate provider
- Providing you and your attorney with a copy of the ‘Code of Practice’ for the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005)
- Confirming capacity and explaining the legal framework to the donor
- Appointing the attorneys / reserves and contacting them to ensure they understand their duties and the principles of the MCA 2005
- Appointing up to four nominated persons and sending them the statutory notifications
- Two home visits to take your instructions and then get the document signed and witnessed
- Producing the registration documents, sending the LPA’s to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration and managing the process with the OPG
- Claiming the fee remission if applicable
- Please note the above Lasting Power of Attorney fees do not include the Office of the Public Guardian registration fee of £82 per document. This is reduced to £41 if you have annual income of less than £12,000.
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