Lasting Powers of Attorney - Plan ahead
A lasting power of attorney (“LPA”) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people you trust to make decisions on your behalf, or act on your behalf if you are no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions. Recording your wishes gives you control over your future and reassurance that someone has been appointed to make decisions on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA:
- LPA for financial and property decisions; and
- LPA for health and care decisions.
LPA for financial and property decisions
An LPA for financial and property decisions can be used while you still have mental capacity or you can when you lose capacity and decisions can extend to all or specified matters concerning your property and financial affairs. These matters may include:
- Opening, closing and operating a financial account
- Arranging and managing investments
- Buying or selling property
- Paying bills
- Dealing with tax affairs
LPA for health and care decisions
An LPA for health and care decisions can be used only once you have lost mental capacity and decisions can extend to all or specified matters concerning your health and welfare. These matters may include:
- Giving or refusing consent to medical treatment
- Arranging social care and support
- Making decisions about who has contact with you
- Making decisions as to where you should reside
You can also give special permission for your attorney to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment.
When making decisions, your attorney(s) must always assume that you can make your own decisions, unless it is established that you cannot do so; they must help you to make as many of your own decisions as you can; they must not treat you as unable to make a decision simply because it is an unwise decision; they must act and make decisions in your best interests and they must consider whether they can make the decisions or act in a way that is less restrictive of your rights and freedom but still achieves the purpose.
How do LPAs come into force?
Once your LPAs are completed and signed by the relevant people, they must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) before your attorneys can act. There is a registration fee payable to the OPG of £82 per LPA. Depending on your situation you may be able to pay a reduced amount. Please consult your solicitor if you are eligible to apply for a reduction.
It can take up to 20 weeks to register an LPA if there are no mistakes in the application.
What if I change my mind?
You can change your mind at any time and cancel the LPA while you have capacity to make decisions.
What happens if I do not have LPAs in place and I lose mental capacity?
The legal implications of not having an LPA in place when you lose mental capacity are that your family members of friends will not be able to act or make decisions on your behalf without first applying to the court of protection for a deputyship order. This is a much more expensive route as it involves court fees and legal fees. The court will decide who will act for you and will dictate what decisions that person(s) can make.
Our fixed fee for one LPA is £500 plus VAT and for both LPAs £750 plus VAT. The registration fees are not included in our fixed fees.
If you need to apply to become a deputy, the basic fee (which assumes the deputyship application is uncontested and that there are no court hearings) is £950 + VAT plus the court fee of £365.
Contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate department if you wish to set up an LPA or if you would like to know more about the process on 020 8492 2290 or email us at email@example.com.