Expert Advice

Lasting Power of Attorney: what you need to know

Lasting Power of Attorney

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

 

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal authorization granted by one person (the donor) which allows another (the attorney(s)) to look after their affairs if they become incapable of doing so themselves.

 

Who makes the LPA?

 

Somebody with the mental capacity to do so must make the Lasting Power of Attorney, and a certificate provider must confirm their capability and willingness to do so; this may be a close friend or a mental health professional, including a GP or solicitor.  The LPA requires the signatures of the donor, attorney(s), certificate provider and witnesses.

 

What is covered by an LPA?

 

There are two types of LPA which grant different aspects of control.  A Property and Affairs LPA allows the attorney(s) to help manage property and financial matters, whilst a Health and Welfare LPA allows decisions about things such as medical treatments, housing and daily routines to be made by the appointed attorney(s), including what necessities the donor’s money may be spent on.

 

What if the donor is deemed unable to sign an LPA?

 

Another option is to apply to become a Deputy through the Court of Protection (CoP).  You can apply through the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which protect the interests of those who are unable to make decisions for themselves and supervises the guardians appointed by the CoP.  However, this is often a more expensive and drawn-out option.

 

Why would we need an LPA?

 

It is often assumed that somebody’s financial dealings can naturally be passed to their spouse or relative, but many banks will freeze joint accounts if one account holder is deemed to no longer have capacity.  Also, safeguarding alerts are in place to protect vulnerable people, which means that financial activity on an account without an LPA in place may draw questioning.  An LPA or similar is therefore advisable to avoid these potential problems in the future.

An LPA may not be needed if a person’s only income is social security benefits and they have no property or savings; benefits can be managed by an appointee of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

 

How do I get an LPA?

 

An LPA can be done through a solicitor or independently.  The LPA forms can be downloaded from gov.uk or ordered from the Office of the Public Guardian (0300 456 0300).

 

How much does it cost?

 

It costs £82 to register each Lasting Power of Attorney.  It would cost £164 to register both a Property and Affairs LPA and a Health and Wellbeing LPA, as they are separate documents.  Solicitor costs, if you wish to use professional assistance, are at their discretion.

 

My parent has an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).  Is this still valid?

 

LPAs replaced EPAs in 2007, meaning you can no longer make an EPA.  However, any EPAs signed before October 2007 are still valid.

 

Can an LPA be amended or ended?

 

The donor can change or end an LPA if they have the mental capacity to do so.  The Office of the Public Guardian register any changes.

An LPA can also end due to divorce, bankruptcy or the inability of an appointed attorney to fulfil their commitments.

 

To make, register or amend a Lasting Power of Attorney, go to www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney

 

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