Powers of Attorney

Many people, especially in later life, become concerned about losing the ability to manage their finances or to make the right decisions about their welfare.

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Guiding you through all aspects of LPAs

It can be reassuring to know that there is a safe and legal way to pass those important decisions on to someone else – someone (one or more person) who you trust and who can make the right decisions on your behalf.

This is done by making a legal document called a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA lets you plan what happens to you – and lets you agree who can make decisions for you – should you become unable to make these decisions for yourself.

Without an LPA, your family and friends may find it difficult to manage your affairs, and they may not know your wishes. So, it protects both you and those close to you.

Our caring team of expert lawyers has a great deal of experience in LPAs. They can help you to make a plan that ensures your wishes are properly observed in the years to come.

Making an LPA with the right help is relatively straightforward. Once made, it will last for your lifetime, unless you decide to change it. Your LPA can include instructions on what should happen to your money and your property.

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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (known as the donor) appoint one or more people (known as attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf, or in agreement with you.

Often an LPA is set up for a person who may be aging and concerned about their ability to manage their own affairs in future, for example if they were to lose their mental capacity.

However, you can also set up an LPA to cover a temporary situation. For example, if you are in hospital and want someone to manage your bills.

What is mental capacity?

Your mental capacity means your ability to understand information and make decisions about your life. It can also mean the ability to communicate decisions about your life. Your capacity to make a decision can vary, depending on the time that the decision needs to be made and the type of decision you need to make.

According to the Mental Capacity Act, examples of people who may lack capacity include those with dementia, a severe learning disability, a brain injury/stroke or a mental health condition

Different types of Lasting Power of Attorney

There are two common types of LPA. You may choose to take out either or both, depending on your own circumstances. Whichever you choose, they need to be registered with a government department called the Office of the Public Guardian. You can appoint different attorneys for different powers.

  • Health and welfare
    A health and welfare LPA lets you choose one or more people to make decisions about your daily routine (things like washing, dressing, eating) as well as matters like medical care, moving into a care home and life-sustaining medical treatment. It can only be used if you're unable to make your own decisions.

  • Property and financial affairs
    A property and financial afairs LPA lets you choose one or more people to make property and financial decisions on your behalf. Your appointed attorney can manage things like money, tax and bills, bank accounts, property and investments, pensions and benefits. You can specify if it comes into force immediately or once you no longer have mental capacity.

    If you give them authority, your attorneys can make gifts of your money or property but this power is limited. The court can authorise additional powers to make gifts in certain circumstances.

  • Business LPA
    It is also possible to put into place a number of property and financial affairs powers such that specific attorneys can be appointed to attend only to your business assets.

How to set up an LPA

Setting up an LPA is quite a formal process and it can be a lengthy and complex affair for the lay person. It is wise to speak to a professional, such as an LPA solicitor, to ensure that you understand choices you are making.

Each LPA will ask you to confirm who you want to appoint as your attorney. It will also ask how and when you want them to act and what decisions you would like them to make. The document must be signed by you, your attorneys and a number of witnesses including a “Certificate Provider”. This person must confirm that you are capable of signing the document and that you understand the implications of it. We can assist with providing the certificate in many circumstances.

Once signed, the LPA must be activated by registering with the Office of the Public Guardian. An unregistered LPA cannot be used by your attorneys and, as the registration process typically takes several months, we recommend that LPAs are registered straight away and then stored securely until required.

Registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney

It is not possible to make an enduring power of attorney but many of our clients still retain them and they are still a valid way of dealing with the management of property and financial affairs. To use the enduring power of attorney the document must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and we can assist with this process.

Costs of an LPA

Because of the complexity involved, there are risks involved in setting up an LPA without expert help. An experienced legal professional can explain the various options available to you and guide you through the entire process.

To set up a valid LPA there are certain fixed costs, plus whatever legal or professional fees you incur.

You will need to register the LPA before you can use it. In England and Wales, as of 2023, the registration fee is £82 for each LPA – so it costs £164 to register both an LPA for property and financial affairs and an LPA for health and welfare.

You may be exempt from paying the fee if you're on a low income or you receive certain income-related benefits.

Your legal or professional fees can be discussed with your solicitor or advisor before you proceed.

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Why choose us as your Power of Attorney lawyers

An LPA is a fairly lengthy and complex document. Unless you are trained and experienced it can be a daunting process to complete. Apart from the document itself, planning for future events and managing the possible future loss of mental capacity can be very challenging. There are many different scenarios to take into account and, without the right support, it is easy to overlook some important factors.

Our legal experts can ensure you get it right and take the strain out of setting up an LPA. We can help you complete the official forms in order to successfully make and register your documents.

Our friendly team can advise you on the right course of action to ensure your wishes are followed and your best interests are looked after.

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An LPA provides security and peace-of-mind for you and your loved ones. It lets you decide what will happen if incapacity through old age, illness or injury leave you unable to deal with your own affairs. It allows you to give instructions about what should happen to your money and your property. Without an LPA, your family and friends may not know your wishes and may find it difficult to manage your affairs.

LPAs are designed to take effect once you have lost some mental capacity. However you can set them up at any time and it is important not to wait until it is too late. Once you lose the ability to understand what a LPA is, it’s too late to make one.

It is not a legal requirement to use a solicitor to set up an LPA. However, given the complexity of the documents and the serious issues at stake when managing your future affairs, we believe it is a very wise decision to engage an experienced legal expert to guide you through the process.

Working with one of our legal experts will minimise the time it takes to draw up the necessary paperwork and choose your attorneys to act on your behalf, if and when the LPA comes into force.

Every LPA document must be registered with, and activated by, the Office of the Public Guardian. This process can take several months.

No. You have to have sufficient mental capacity to understand the decisions you are taking when making an LPA. That is why it is so important to put the wheels in motion before it is too late.  A deputyship appointment might be appropriate in these circumstances. 

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