Creating a lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows you to nominate someone else to make important decisions for you if you ever lose the mental capacity to do so.
Depending on the type of LPA you set up, you can give someone the authority to make decisions about issues such as the medical treatment you receive, your finances, your home and your general wellbeing.
While lasting powers of attorney are well worth considering for most people, we understand that a lot of people aren’t familiar with how they work or what is involved in setting up an LPA. We have therefore set out to answer some of the most common questions people have about lasting powers of attorney.
What is a lasting power of attorney?
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that gives one or more people (your attorney or attorneys) the authority to make important decisions for you or assist you with making decisions if you ever lose the mental capacity to make such decisions yourself in future.
LPAs are commonly used where people worry they may lose capacity due to issues such as dementia, mental health problems, brain injury, alcohol or drug misuse, the side effects from medical treatment, or any other type of illness or disability.
What types of LPA are there?
There are two types of LPA you can create:
Health and welfare lasting power of attorney – Giving your attorney/s authority to make decisions about issues such as your medical care, including whether you should be given life sustaining treatment, where you should be moved into a care home and your daily routine.
Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney – Covering decisions over your home, including whether to sell your home, collecting benefits and/or your pension, managing your bank or building society account and paying bills.
You can make either or both types of LPA, depending on your circumstances and the types of decisions you feel you might need help with in future.
How do you make a lasting power of attorney?
Making an LPA is relatively straightforward, but it is important to get all of the details right to ensure your lasting power of attorney can be used effectively if it is every required.
Our team can fill out the relevant lasting power of attorney forms for you, which you will then need to sign and have your attorney or attorneys sign as well. We can then register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian and it will then be ready to be used if it is ever required.
Who can be an attorney?
Your attorney/s can be anyone aged 18 or over, although it is common to choose a family member or close friend. Many people choose a professional such as a solicitor, which can give you the peace of mind that all decisions will be made in your best interests and by someone with the specialist expertise to understand the implications of those decisions.
When does a lasting power of attorney take affect?
You need to register an LPA for it to take effect. This can be done when it is made or when it is needed. It is worth bearing in mind that it can take around 8-10 weeks for an application to register an LPA to be dealt with by the Office of the Public Guardian or even longer if there are issues with the application.
To be able to use a Health and Welfare LPA, the person who created it (the ‘donor’) must have lost mental capacity. This generally means that at least one of the following applies:
- They cannot understand the information needed to make a decision
- They cannot remember the necessary information
- They cannot properly assess the relevant information
- They cannot communicate their decisions
For Property and Financial Affairs LPAs, different rules apply. When making a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, you can decide whether you want your attorney’s powers to begin as soon as the LPA has been registered, or only if you have lost mental capacity.
If the power begins on registration, then whilst you have mental capacity, your attorney can only act with your consent. If you later lose capacity, they can continue to act on your behalf for all property and financial affairs.
This option can be helpful if you are able to make your own decisions but there is another reason you want your attorney to act for you - for instance, if you were out of the country on holiday, or if a physical problem is stopping you from dealing with your affairs, such as you being unable to visit the bank, sign documents or talk on the phone
Who do I notify when registering a lasting power of attorney?
The lasting power of attorney should specify anyone who needs to be contacted when it is registered. This will generally be family members of the donor and anyone else who is likely to be affected by the decisions or who would normally be expected to be consulted about any significant decisions made with regard to the donor.
Can a lasting power of attorney be revoked?
If you wish to end a lasting power of attorney, you can do so as long as you still have mental capacity.
You will need to contact the Office or the Public Guardian (or have your solicitor do this for you), sending the original LPA and a ‘deed of revocation’ which your solicitor can prepare for you.
Can you challenge a lasting power of attorney?
If an LPA has been created but not yet registered, you may be able to object to the registration. This might be where you have concerns over who has been named as an attorney or that the LPA genuinely reflects the donor’s wishes.
If you are concerned that an attorney acting under an LPA is not acting in the best interests of the donor, you should report these concerns to the Office of the Public Guardian. If they find your concerns are warranted, the Court of Protection can cancel the LPA and appoint a deputy to make decisions about the vulnerable person’s affairs instead.
Are lasting powers of attorney different to enduring powers of attorney?
Enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) were another power of attorney that people used to be able to create up until 1 October 2007. They had broadly similar powers to LPAs, although they could also be used before someone lost mental capacity.
If you created an EPA before 1 October 2007, you can still register it and use it. Any EPA created before that date and already registered will be valid.
How much does it cost to get a power of attorney?
Our prices for creating a single LPA (either Property & Finances or Health & Welfare) start at £300+VAT. There is also a £82 registration fee.
For making both types of LPA, our prices start at £400+VAT and there will be a £164 registration fee.
You may be eligible for an exemption of the registration fee if you are in receipt of certain means-tested benefits. Alternatively, you may be eligible for a 50% reduction in the registration fee if your annual income is below £12,000.
To find out more about the cost of making a lasting power of attorney, please take a look at our LPA pricing.
Get in touch with our lasting power of attorney solicitors in Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taff and the surrounding area
Need any help creating a lasting power of attorney or advice on acting as an attorney? Contact your local Devonalds office in Bridgend, Tylorstown, Tonypandy, Talbot Green, Treorchy or Pontypridd to talk to one of our expert lasting power of attorney solicitors.