Lasting Powers of Attorney – FAQ – (England and Wales)
What is a lasting power of attorney (LPA)?
An LPA allows a person (or persons) to make decisions on someone’s behalf if they have been appointed as an attorney(s) for them. An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before an attorney or attorneys can act on your behalf.
Why does this information only cover England and Wales?
There is a different system in Scotland and Northern Ireland for what happens when someone loses mental capacity to make their own decisions and who can act on their behalf. *Scotland – http://www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk/power-of-attorney *NI – www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/managing-your-affairs-and-enduring-power-attorney
Who can make an LPA?
You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own clear decisions). You can make one if you live outside the UK and you do not need to be a British citizen.
What types of LPA are there?
There are two types:
- health and welfare
- property and financial decisions
You can choose to make one or both, depending on your circumstances and needs.
What is a health and welfare LPA?
An LPA for health and welfare can give an attorney (or attorneys) the power to make decisions about things like:
- your daily routine – getting up, washing, dressing, eating, sleeping
- medical care
- moving to a care home
- life-sustaining treatment
It can only be used when you lose mental capacity to make your own decisions about these matters.
What is a property and finance LPA?
This LPA is used to give an attorney (or attorneys) the power to make decisions about money and/or property for you, such as:
- managing a bank or building society account
- paying bills
- collecting benefits or pension
- selling your home
It can be used as soon as it is registered, with permission of the person making the LPA or it can be restricted for use only if you lose mental capacity to make these decisions for yourself.
How do I choose an attorney or attorneys?
You can choose one or more people to act on your behalf as attorney(s). They can be relatives, spouses, partners or you can choose a professional attorney to act, such as a solicitor. If you appoint more than one attorney, you need to decide whether they can act alone (‘severally’) in making decisions or whether they need to act together, in agreement (‘jointly’). Some decisions can be made severally and some can be made jointly, if you wish but you will need to add this specific information to the LPA. You should choose someone in whom you trust, who is reasonably competent in administrative matters and who has the time and inclination to take on this role, as it is fairly responsible.
Can I change or cancel my LPA once it is registered? When does it end?
Yes, at any time (providing you still have mental capacity) by sending a ‘deed of partial revocation’ or a ‘deed of revocation’ to the Office of the Public Guardian. Your LPA may also end if your attorney(s):
- loses the ability to make decisions themselves (lacking mental capacity)
- divorces you or ends a civil partnership with you
- becomes bankrupt or subject to a Debt Relief Order (for Property and Finance LPA)
- is removed by the Court of Protection
- dies (if there is no replacement attorney appointed) (or if there are joint attorneys but they are not allowed to act alone (‘severally’))
Your LPA will also end when you die, as it is a lifetime document. Your personal representative, on death, such as an executor would need to contact the OPG to inform them.
How do I go about making an LPA?
You can choose to complete the forms yourself online at www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/make-lasting-power or you can download paper copies of the forms to complete yourself at www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-a-lasting-power-of-attorney.
We also offer a comprehensive service helping you with your application for an LPA. There is a lot to read and digest before making an LPA and you must understand everything before filling in the forms. Perhaps you do not have the time to complete lengthy documents yourself or do not feel confident.
We aim to provide tailored advice to make sure that you apply for the best LPA for your needs and circumstances, whether it is for health and welfare or for property and finances, or both. We make sure you understand everything thoroughly, guide you through the process and take care of all the details.
We can act as a witness as required for your signatures, which means you do not have to find one yourself who is not related to you or nominated as an attorney. We also can act as a certificate provider in the application, to declare that you have the mental capacity to make an LPA (unless you already have a medical condition impairing your decision making abilities whereby the certificate provider would need to be a medical professional) which you would have to normally organise yourself.
The order of the signatures in the application is crucial and if not completed in the correct order, it is likely to be returned to you to be corrected and resubmitted (with a further fee).
Our experience in this area means that you can avoid the common pitfalls of applying yourself. We handle all the communications with the OPG on your behalf (unless they wish to contact you or the attorneys specifically) and we check the LPA after we have received the registered document for mistakes and missing pages before delivering it to you.
Our service takes the stress and anxiety out of making an LPA!
How much does it cost to make an LPA?
There is a £110 court fee payable to the OPG for each LPA application to be registered. There may be a reduction or an exemption available in certain circumstances.
If you wish to take advantage of our guided LPA service, contact us for details of our competitive fixed fees which include VAT.