DO I NEED A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY?
What is a lasting power of attorney?
The lasting power of attorney (or LPA) is a form which you can complete to allow one or more people (your attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf.
There are two different types of LPA, one dealing with property and finances and the other dealing with health and care matters.
What is a Property and Finances LPA?
This type of LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions about things like your bank accounts, investments and property. It would allow your attorneys to buy and sell investments on your behalf, open and close bank accounts and pay bills. Your attorneys could make decisions for you if you were unable to make them for yourself because of capacity.
Your attorneys could also deal with your affairs for you if it was simply more convenient and you wanted your attorneys to help you with the management of your finances, either for a short period of time or for longer, if necessary. For example, it could be used if you were abroad for an extended period or could not leave home.
What is a Health and Welfare LPA?
This type of LPA allows your attorneys to make decisions about things like medical treatment, care provision and where you live. It can also give your attorneys power to make decisions about life sustaining treatment if you specifically agree to it in advance.
Your attorneys can only make decisions on your behalf using this type of LPA if you are unable to those decisions for yourself due to incapacity.
Who can make an lasting power of attorney?
Anyone who is over 18 years of age, and who understands what they are signing.
Who can be my attorneys?
You can appoint almost anyone as attorney. The only real restrictions are that you attorney must be over 18, must be mentally capable themselves and must not be bankrupt or insolvent.
You should give careful thought to who you appoint and ensure that they are trustworthy and will act in your best interests at all times. Most people appoint close family or friends.
It is possible to appoint a professional such as a solicitor or accountant as your attorney but this would incur an additional cost should they need to deal with your affairs. It would also normally only be appropriate for a Property and Finances LPA.
How many attorneys can I have?
In theory there is no limit to the number of attorneys you could appoint, and you could even have more than one LPA appointing different people. This would not normally be practical and we would usually recommend appointing no more than four attorneys.
On the other hand it is usually a good idea to appoint at least two attorneys so that one of them can continue dealing with your affairs if the other cannot for any reason.
If I have more than one attorney how do they make decisions?
If you appoint more than one attorney, you need to decide how they can make decisions either jointly, jointly and severally (which means that they can act together but they can also act separately from each other, as being able to act separately from each other is often practically more convenient) or jointly for some decisions.
How do I control my attorneys’ actions?
The best way to protect yourself is simply to ensure that you only appoint attorneys who you can be confident will act in your best interests. It is also helpful to discuss you LPAs with your attorneys to give them guidance about your wishes.
You can always cancel an LPA or overrule your attorneys’ decisions while you have mental capacity to do so.
An LPA can als include restrictions and conditions on your attorneys’ powers when preparing your LPAs. You do though need to be careful not to be too restrictive as this can defeat the object of having an LPA in the first place.
Beyond that, your attorneys’ powers are governed by law and they are required to act in your best interests at all times. If anyone has concerns about how your attorneys are using their powers they can ask the Office of the Public Guardian to investigate which could ultimately lead to their removal by the Court of Protection.
What is a Certificate Provider?
This is a person who needs to sign your LPAs to confirm that you understand what you are doing when you make them and that you are not under any undue pressure. This person can be a professional such as a solicitor or doctor or can be someone who has known you for at least two years and is independent.
Do I have to tell anyone about my LPA?
You can choose to formally notify people about your LPA when it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian but do not have to and it would be unusual.
What is registration?
Your LPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before your attorneys can use them.
You do not have to register your LPAs as soon as you have made them but we always recommend that you do. The registration process can usually take up to 20 weeks and it could cause significant delay if your attorneys only applied for registration when they needed to use the LPAs.
Applying for registration straightaway also means that if any are errors are identified, you can rectify them.
How can Jolliffes help with my lasting powers of attorney?
We can assist with the whole process including:
- meeting you to discuss your requirements and advise about LPAs;
- preparing draft LPAs for your approval and making any necessary amendments;
- preparing final LPAs and meeting you to sign them · Acting as certificate provider;
- sending your LPAs to your attorneys to sign;
- applying to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration of your LPAs; and
- storing the registered LPAs for you.
How much does a lasting power of attorney cost?
Our charges vary depending on your circumstances and the number of LPAs you need. Please contact us for a personalised estimate. In addition to our charges, there is currently a registration fee of £82 payable to the Office of the Public Guardian for each LPA you register.