A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity to make decisions yourself. The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called the Attorneys. An LPA is a separate legal document to your Will, dealing with your affairs in lifetime. Many people will put LPAs in place at the same time as they write their Will as part of their greater ‘estate plan’ but they can be made totally separately too.
The concept of ‘next of kin’ has no real legal basis, which comes as a shock to many. If you were to lose capacity, then you may be surprised to discover that your spouse or children have no automatic legal right to manage your affairs. To give them this authority you need an LPA in place appointing them as your Attorneys.
The best solution is for couples to have ‘Mirror’ (identical) LPAs. These documents would allow them to appoint each other to make decisions about each other’s financial affairs and health issues; should one of them lose capacity to do so.
Once you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you can have peace of mind that there is someone you trust to look after your affairs if you became unable to do so yourself during your lifetime.
This may occur, for example, because of an illness or old age or an accident.
Your LPA gives you control over your future should you lose capacity. It can include binding instructions together with general preferences for your Attorneys to consider.
While Attorneys must always make decisions in your best interests, by including instructions and preferences you can make sure that your Attorneys are making decisions the way you want them to.
Your LPA Attorney should reflect your particular wishes so you know that the things that matter most to you will be taken care of.
If you ever lose the ability to make decisions for yourself your loved ones may find themselves unable to make even the simplest of decisions for you or access your resources to care for you or manage them. This can cause hardship for you and for your family. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that you can put in place while you still have mental capacity to make sure that this situation is avoided. Using this document you can make sure that someone you know and trust will be able to make decisions about your finances and your healthcare if in the future you lose the ability to make these decisions yourself. For more information see our guide on LPAs here
If you are over the age of 18 are capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document, known as ‘having capacity’, then you may put an LPA in place.
If you lack capacity to understand an LPA then you cannot enter into it and no one can do so on your behalf.
Our home-visit consultant will use their experience to guide you through the areas where guidance may be required.
This includes inserting the appropriately worded instructions and preferences to make sure that you have full control over what decisions your Attorneys can make and how they make them.
We understand completing an LPA document can be a little daunting for some. However, we will ensure that you are confident and will be on hand throughout the process, offering advice and guidance when required. We will guide you through the signing process to make sure your LPAs are valid, and we’ll also help you through the registration process with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) so you know you’ll end up with a legal document that is registered and ready to use as soon as it’s needed.
Without an LPA in place there is no one with the legal authority to manage your affairs, for example, to access bank accounts or investments in your name or sell your property on your behalf.
In these circumstances, in order for someone to obtain legal authority over your affairs, that person would need to apply to the Court of Protection and the Court will decide on the person to be appointed to manage your affairs. The person chosen is appointed your ‘Deputy’.
This is a very different type of appointment which is significantly more intricate and costly than being appointed as an Attorney under a LPA. The process of appointing a Deputy is much more time consuming and costly.
The application itself can take upwards of 6 months and costs £385 just to get started, before factoring in legal costs, supervision fees, and insurance (upwards of £1500 in most cases).
Compare this to an LPA that takes on average 6 weeks to be registered and costs £82 per document plus our fees for preparation and the LPA is the obvious choice.
If you wish to have peace of mind that a particular person will have the legal authority to look after your affairs and you want to make matters easier for them and less expensive, then you should strongly consider getting an LPA in place.