Lasting Power of Attorney
The definitive guide to Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
What Is A Power Of Attorney?
Power of Attorney gives someone the power to make certain decisions for someone else. Generally speaking this is due to someone being unable to make decisions for themselves for one reason or another.
Usually this is down to one of two reasons:
- Ill health
Most people assume their family will be able to make decisions for you automatically. This is not the case. Without Power of Attorney family members may not be able to make decisions for you.
Giving someone Power of Attorney means that if you are unable to make decisions for yourself regarding your health or finances, your nominated LPA can make those decisions for you.
Lasting Power of Attorney may just be to cover a temporary situation like being in hospital, or it could be to make more longer term decisions on your behalf if your situation isn’t likely to change.
What Is Mental Capacity?
When arranging Lasting power of attorney (LPA) you will hear Mental capacity talked about a lot, but what does it mean?
Mental capacity is the ability to make or communicate decisions when they are required to be made. In order to have mental capacity you need to be able to understand what you are deciding, why you are deciding it, and the consequences of making it.
Every endeavour should always be made to make sure someone that has the mental capacity should be able to make their own decisions. Only if they are unable to do so would an LPA come into effect.
Different Types Of Power Of Attorney
There are a few different types of Power of Attorney. Here are the main ones:
Ordinary Power of Attorney
An Ordinary Power of Attorney is valid whilst you have mental capacity. It is generally used for temporary periods.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) Is arguably the mostwell used power of attorney. Generally used to give someone permission to make decisions for you in regards to health or financial affairs.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
These were replaced with the aforementioned LPA’s in 2007. However, if you still have an EPA is may still be effective. Speak to a specialist to check you don’t need to change to an LPA.
LPA For Financial Decisions
This can be set up whilst you still have mental capacity if you wanted someone to handle specific aspects of your finances. You may want them to be able to make some decisions for you regarding financial affairs but not all of them.
This may include:
- Paying bills or mortgages.
- Managing property or making repairs.
- The buying or selling of property.
LPA For Health And Care Decisions
This type of Lasting power of attorney (LPA) can only be enforced once you lose mental capacity. Essentially allowing a designated person the ability to control what happens in regard to health and care.
A lot of people think this includes Life saving treatment, but it doesn’t have to. That is up to you. It does usually include:
- Medical Care
- What social activities you do, and who you have contact with.
- What you eat/drink
- Your living situation.
This sounds like a lot of control, but remember, if they are making these decisions you have lost mental capacity and may need someone to make these decisions for you.
How Do I Set Up A Power Of Attorney?
There are various methods.
- You may have a solicitor that you use that may offer these services, although likely very expensive.
- You can contact the office of the Public Guardian and do it yourself.
- We can do it for you. As qualified Estate Planners we can offer you expert advice and help getting your Lasting Power of Attorney set up.
How Much Does It Cost To Set Up A Lasting Power Of Attorney?
It will vary depending on your method. If you do it yourself it could cost as little as a few hundred pounds. Alternatively you can contact ourselves and we charge fees starting at £299.00.
Do I Need A Solicitor?
No you do not. We have mentioned this above. You can arrange your own Lasting power of attorney, or have an estate planner like ourselves do it for you.
Unlike most solicitors we specialise in estate planning. Making the perfect advisors to help you get your Lasting Power of Attorney set up.
How Do I Make Changes To My Power Of Attorney?
In general you can’t make changes to an Lasting Power of Attorney. You can however, request the office of the Public Guardian to change your LPA as long as you still have mental capacity.
What Are My Duties As Lasting Power Of Attorney?
As someone’s attorney your legal duties are generally to:
- Act in the best interests of the person you are the attorney of.
- Abide by the terms of the Lasting power of attorney (LPA)
- Help the donor make their own decisions if possible, rather than you making them for them.
- You cannot act on an LPA until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
You should always make sure you understand the implications of being someone’s attorney.
At The Willsmiths we always ensure we make sure your Attorney understands what they are agreeing to.
What Is The Difference Between A Power Of Attorney And A Lasting Power Of Attorney?
Up until 2007 you got Enduring Power of attorney. This has since been replaced with the 2 options for Lasting Power of Attorney. You also get Ordinary power of attorney and we have given a bit more information on that above.