Why would I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Do you wonder how your views will be heard if you lose mental capacity or the ability to communicate due to illness or an accident?
In later life, this can become of real concern to elderly members of our family. Of course, many people have loved ones who will care for them and help them to manage the practical aspects of their life. However, there are restrictions on the types of actions and decisions which can be made by one person on behalf of another.
It is not possible to manage the financial affairs of someone else on an informal, long term basis. The bank will not permit someone who is not the account holder to access information or funds.
In circumstances where medical care or life saving treatment is in question, medical professionals must make their decision based on the best interests of the patient unless the patient is competent to give instructions to the contrary. If the patient does not have mental capacity, or the ability to communicate, the treating doctors are not obliged to consider the views of family and loved ones.
What effect does a Lasting Power of Attorney have?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). One in respect of Financial Affairs, and the other for Health & Welfare. The person delegating their authority is called the Donor, and the person being given authority is called the Attorney. The Donor can choose who the Attorney is, and they may appoint more than one Attorney to share the responsibility.
The Attorney is accountable to the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection for the entire period they are in that role. The LPA expires when the Donor dies.
We will look at them separately. Many people choose to put both in place so that they can rest assured their best interests will be cared for in both areas of their life.
What type of Lasting Power of Attorney can I put in place?
LPA Financial Affairs
When this comes in to effect, the Attorney is permitted to deal with the Donor’s finances on their behalf, following any specific guidance the Donor has included in the LPA. Banks and other financial institutions must be shown the LPA, so that they can grant access to the Donor’s accounts and information.
The Attorney is then empowered to manage the Donor’s cash, savings, pensions, investment decisions and so on. They are also responsible for making purchases on the Donor’s behalf, such as shopping for food and clothes, and maintaining their home.
The Attorney must not merge the Donor’s monies with their own, and they must provide an account of what they have spent and why. For some expenditure they may have to apply to the Court of Protection. This is to ensure money is not misused rather than an indication that the Donor did not trust the Attorney.
LPA Health & Welfare
The Attorney’s role is to be the voice of the Donor in terms of all decisions relating to their treatment, care, and general health. Again, the Donor can leave instructions about specific wishes.
Otherwise, the Attorney is responsible for all aspects of the Donor’s welfare, from requesting funds to purchase toiletries, to signing medical consent forms and representing the Donor’s views on life saving or altering treatments and procedures.
There is some overlap between this LPA and an Advance Decision, and whichever is made most recently supercedes the former. For this reason, we recommend you fully read the information about Advance Decisions and LPAs, and then talk to us about your concerns and requirements. This will enable us to advise you as to the most appropriate steps to take, and in what order.
For Advice; Preparation of all documents; Acting as Certificate Provider
Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs – £325
Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Care Decisions – £325
Both Personal Lasting Power of Attorney for one person – £500*
Both Personal Lasting Power of Attorney for a couple – £950*
Office of Public Guardian registration fees: £82 per document**
*No additional discounts may be used alongside this discounted fee
**This is reduced to £41 per document if your income is below £12,000 per year.
Our experienced team can talk you through your options, complete your LPA forms, and submit your LPA to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration.
How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Once you have chosen an Attorney, or more than one Attorney, the correct LPA forms must be completed and witnessed.
Before filling in the forms, we recommend you think through any scenarios where you want to leave specific instructions to your Attorney as to how they should act. You are permitted to do this, and it can be reassuring to both of you to know you are not leaving your Attorney to worry about what you would want them to decide in certain circumstances.
On completion, these forms must be signed by you, the Attorney, witnesses, and a certificate provider. This is someone who can confirm that you know what you are doing and that you have chosen to make the LPA yourself.
The LPA cannot take effect until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, and this process may take a few months. Once registered, your LPA is ready to come into force should you lose mental capacity for any reason.
If you lose capacity and your LPA has not been registered, it is more complicated to then start the registration process. Therefore, it is more straightforward for you or your Attorney apply for the LPA to be registered at the time when you complete the paperwork.