What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a formal legal document which allows you to appoint an Attorney or Attorneys (one or more people) to act on your behalf and to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime. It gives the Attorneys the power to “stand in your shoes” and to do all the things you normally do yourself ranging from accessing your bank accounts, paying your bills, managing your money and selling your property to making decisions about your long term care and medication and life sustaining treatment.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is made by a person individually only ie you cannot have a joint LPA document. Each person has their own LPA and is known as the Donor, giving the power to act to their chosen Attorney within this.
There are two forms of Lasting Power of Attorney; a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs ( more common) and a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
Do I need a Will as well as a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Yes. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a completely separate legal document to your Will. The LPA applies during your lifetime and the Will applies on your death. It is usual that both are discussed, reviewed at the same time as most advisers will always discuss the relevance of an LPA as they apply to people of all ages.
Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Traditionally these have always been associated with older people and the problems incurred in later life with diminishing physical and mental health.
However, nowadays more and more people should have these set up. You need to think about who you would want to access and manage your money if for example, you had a car accident and couldn’t manage your own affairs. How would your bills get paid and who would manage your affairs? Who would make those decisions for you?
Here are just a few examples of when they would be a good idea:-
- If you are not married to your partner for example and have separate bank accounts;
- Even if you are married but have separate bank accounts/ savings accounts/ minor children from previous relationships for whom you are responsible;
- If you run a business, who would be able to sign the chequebook or make those important decisions affecting your hard-earned business;
- If you are single and engage in dangerous sports, fast cars or motor bikes for example.
When should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
In order to enter into this you must have capacity to do so, ie you must be capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document.
If you wait until your mental health deteriorates, this could mean that you are unable to enter into an LPA and matters then become difficult as well as costs increasing due to the fact that expert intervention is required from the Court and medical professionals.
What Happens If I Haven’t Made a Lasting Power of Attorney and then I need one?
If you do not enter into an LPA, then you do not have anyone who is legally authorised to look after your affairs. You cannot simply rest on your laurels and assume that your spouse or children can just make those decisions for you. At this point the costs increase and the Court of Protection would become involved and ultimately a Deputy would be appointed.
How Much Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Cost?
Our charges are usually £325 per Lasting Power of Attorney document exclusive of registration costs at the Office of the Public Guardian.
The registration fees are £110 per document ( although these may change) and these are payable to The Office of the Public Guardian.
We will arrange the registration of these LPAs within our charges.
We will also consider a package cost if both spouses require LPA documentation to be prepared.
Our objective is to ensure that everyone who needs these LPAs can arrange them as easily as possible.
For more information or to arrange an appointment with Melanie, please Contact Me.