Lasting power of attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that effectively gives someone else the right to act for you and make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to in the future.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney; a health and welfare LPA and a property and affairs LPA. A health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to elect a person - your attorney - who can make decisions about your personal welfare, such as your day-to-day care, the medical treatment you receive or where you live. A property and affairs Lasting Power of Attorney covers decisions about the material things in your life, such as paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits, conducting your financial affairs or even selling your house.
The key thing to remember is that a Lasting Power of Attorney can only be set up while you’re of sound mind. This basically means when you’ve decided for yourself that you want to make a Lasting Power of Attorney and that you understand what it means. Once you’ve lost mental capacity, it’s too late to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney. Here’s a few other things you should know:
How long does setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney take?
The process takes between 14-16 weeks on average.
How many attorneys can I have?
As long as they’re over 18, as many as you like. If, however, it’s a property and affairs LPA, your attorney can’t have been declared bankrupt. It’s worth remembering that when you set up an Lasting Power of Attorney, you’re literally putting your life in someone else’s hands, so think carefully about who you can trust, whether they’re reliable and if they have the skills to carry out the role.
Usually, it’s adult children who are appointed attorney, but you need to be brutally honest about who you pick – after all, it’s you who'll face the consequences of your decision. If your children are not good at managing money or you think they could potentially steal from you, you need to consider whether it's a good idea to entrust them with your finances and welfare. Also, do your children get along with each other? Siblings who can't agree could prove problematic when making decisions on your behalf.
While it’s likely your attorney will be a relative or friend, you can choose an independent person, such as a solicitor or an accountant. You can also appoint a replacement attorney in case your first choice is no longer able or willing.
Can I restrict the attorney’s power?
Yes you can. Being an attorney is quite a responsibility. It allows someone to sell your home or even have the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf, so it’s always wise to place restrictions or conditions about what your attorney can do within your LPA. You can also choose when your Lasting Power of Attorney becomes effective.
How much does a Lasting Power of Attorney cost?
We charge £395 + vat to set up a single Lasting Power of Attorney. There’s also an additional charge of £82 which is payable to the Office of Public Guardian, the regulatory body, as a registration fee.
For couples who set up their LPAs, it’s £495 + vat. As it’s for two people, two Office of Public Guardian registration fees will be payable.