Lasting Power of Attorney: Why do I need an LPA?
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document which gives another person or persons (known as your ‘attorneys’) the authority to make decisions on your behalf. That authority continues even if you lose the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself.
Why should you have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
You can plan for the future by creating an LPA, which allows you to choose someone you trust to make decisions for you if you lose capacity (for example through dementia or injury).
What are the risks of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you lose capacity, you will no longer be able to decide who makes decisions for you, and there will be no one, chosen by you in advance, who has the right to make decisions on your behalf regarding your care, welfare, and finances. This is why it is important to plan ahead with an LPA.
This could result in people you don’t know, such as a social worker or doctor, making life-changing decisions for you. These decisions could involve what medical treatment you receive, what you eat and what clothes you wear, where you live and what care you receive.
Your family and friends will have no control over what decisions are made on your behalf, and will have to go to court if they want to make decisions on your behalf or challenge someone else’s decisions made for you, which can be much more expensive, time-consuming and stressful than making an LPA.
What are the different types of Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two types of LPA, both of which must be granted before you lose capacity:
- Health & Welfare LPA – gives the attorney the power to make decisions like where the donor should live, what type of medical treatment the donor should receive and refusing or consenting to life-sustaining treatment on the donor’s behalf.
- Property & Financial Affairs LPA – gives the attorney the power to make decisions like buying or selling property on the donor’s behalf, making investments, paying the donor’s mortgage and bills, and giving people access to the financial information about the donor.
How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
To make a lasting power of attorney, you only need to be aged 18 or over and have the capacity to make the same decisions that you want to authorise someone else to make. Specific forms need to be completed and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Whom should I name as an attorney for my LPA?
Ideally, when you’re deciding on whom to name as your attorney for your LPA, it’s advisable that you speak with this person before you name them and be certain that the person is 18 or over. You can name multiple people to act as your attorneys, but you should obtain legal advice before doing so as this can render the LPA unusable if not done correctly.
Can the same attorney be appointed for both types of LPA?
Yes, you can name the same person as an attorney for both types of LPA, but you will need to fill in two forms, one for the property and financial affairs LPA, and another for the health and welfare LPA.
A solicitor can help you obtain the right forms and fill them out correctly.
Do I need both types of LPA?
Most people prefer to make both types of LPA (health & welfare and property & finances) as it ensures their attorneys will be able to make decisions for them in all the crucial aspects of their lives.
How much does a Lasting Power of Attorney cost?
There is a fee of £82 to register each type of LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. If you’re on a low income, you may be eligible for a 50% discount, and if you’re receiving means-tested benefits you won’t have to pay the registration fee at all.
At GN Law, we always charge fixed fees for preparing LPAs, so you will be in full control over how much you spend. Our current fees for a Lasting Power of Attorney is £500 for one or £750 for two (+ VAT).
6 benefits of having a Lasting Power of Attorney
- You decide who makes decisions on your behalf
- Immediate decision can be made by your attorney
- You decide what power your attorney can have
- Cheaper to set up an LPA in advance
- Loved ones can be included in making decisions
- Peace of mind that someone you trust has been appointed
1. You decide who makes decisions on your behalf
If you lose capacity, someone you have chosen, rather than a court or a professional deputy, will be able to take decisions on your behalf about your health, welfare, and financial affairs.
2. Immediate decision can be made by your attorney
Your attorney can start taking decisions on your behalf immediately (provided the LPA is registered).
3. You decide what power your attorney can have
You can decide what, if any limits, or restrictions you want to place on the powers that the attorney(s) have, e.g. you may wish to specify that they cannot sell your house.
4. Cheaper to set up an LPA in advance
The cost of setting up an LPA is much cheaper than your family needing to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a deputy.
5. Loved ones can be included in making decisions
It helps avoid a situation where your family suffers upset (and sometimes anger) at feeling excluded when the local authority makes decisions regarding your care, or a professional deputy makes financial decisions.
6. Peace of mind that someone you trust has been appointed
You will have the peace of mind that your welfare and finances will be overseen by someone you trust and who understands your wishes should you lose the capacity to take decisions on your care and property yourself.
6 risks of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney
- Court rarely grants health and welfare powers to family
- Family excluded from making important decisions
- More expensive to apply for a deputyship
- Court delays can increase the costs
- Court will decide on the powers of the deputy
- Professional deputies may not fully understand your wishes
1. Court rarely grants health and welfare powers to family
When people lose capacity without granting someone a health and welfare LPA, courts only very rarely grant these powers to family members. They will, most likely, be taken by social workers at the local authority or by the court itself.
2. Family excluded from making important decisions
If you’re left with the local authority taking decisions regarding your care and welfare, or a professional deputy for your financial affairs, your family are likely to feel upset and angry at feeling excluded from important decisions taken about your welfare and finances.
3. More expensive to have a deputyship
The cost of your family applying to court to make decisions on your behalf, including court fees and solicitor’s fees, will be much more expensive than setting up an LPA in advance (a cost estimate for applying to court to become a deputy is in the region of £1,500 – £2,000). If a professional deputy is appointed by the court instead of allowing your family members to make decisions for you, their yearly professional fees will also be significant and will deplete the money which would otherwise be used for your care.
4. Court delays can increase the costs
The Court of Protection can take months to appoint a deputy to take decisions on your behalf. This delay can place a financial burden and cause stress on your family, who may not be able to access your finances or manage your affairs while the proceedings are ongoing.
5. Court will decide on the powers of the deputy
If the court appoints a deputy to make decisions for you, the court will decide what powers they will be given. These powers may not cover everything you would like your family or friends to be able to do on your behalf.
6. Professional deputies may not fully understand your wishes
A court-appointed professional deputy may not understand your wishes regarding your welfare and finances in the same way that an attorney, chosen by you, would.
For more information about preparing and registering your LPA, or have any issues relating to Lasting Powers of Authority, please contact our Power of Attorney Solicitors for a free consultation on 020 8492 2290 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.