A recent study shows 45% of over 45 years olds don’t know what a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is and how it can protect us and our loved ones as we grow old. An LPA is a legal document that allows you to plan what should happen to you, and who would make decisions for you if old age, illness or injury leave you unable to deal with your own affairs.
Without an LPA, your family and friends may need to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order, which can be costly and time-consuming. So, we’ve pulled together the key things you need to consider when making an LPA.
What Decisions Do You Want Your LPA To Cover?
There are two different types of LPA. One covers your property and financial affairs decisions where attorneys can pay your bills, make investments on your behalf, move your money around between accounts, or even sell your house. This can be done for you even whilst you still have mental capacity, if that is what you want.
The other type of LPA is for your health and welfare decisions, although this can only be used by your attorneys if you do not have the necessary capacity to make those decisions for yourself. That document can be used to make decisions regarding your nutrition, medication, where you live, who visits you and what activities you do. It can even be used by your attorneys to be able to consent to or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf if you have agreed to it.
Consider Who You Will Appoint As Your Attorney?
You can choose anyone to be your attorney, as long as they are over 18 and have mental capacity.
It could be, your spouse or partner, a friend or relative or a professional, such as a solicitor.
Whoever you choose, it should be someone you trust, who you know will respect your wishes and be comfortable making decisions on your behalf. Your attorney doesn’t have to live in the UK or be a British citizen. If you’re choosing someone to look after your financial affairs, you can’t choose someone who is bankrupt or subject to a Debt Relief Order.
Think About Having More Than One Attorney
You can choose more than one attorney. If you do this, you can state whether they’re allowed to make decisions on their own or not. If you state that your attorneys must act together then the LPA will fail if any attorney dies or loses the ability to manage your affairs. It’s best to nominate a replacement who could take over if this did happen.
How Long Will It Take To Make An LPA?
Making an LPA can be done quite quickly, once you have the full details of everyone who is going to be included within the document. First you’ll need to draft a document that lays out what your attorney can and can’t make decisions about. It’s vital to do this with a solicitor to ensure it’s valid.
Once it’s finalised, you’ll need to sign it in the presence of a witness. Your certificate provider will then go through it with you to you understand what you are signing and are not under any undue influence.
If you’re making an LPA through Irwin Mitchell we’d act as your certificate provider. The LPA will then have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used and it is this part of the process that currently causes the greatest delays.
What If I Don’t Have An LPA?
If you don’t have an LPA in place, it may be hard for your loved ones to know what to do if something happens to you, or you lose capacity. Without knowing your wishes, they may find it difficult to manage your affairs and property, and they might not know what medical treatment you do or don’t want.
They might have to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order so that they can take charge of your finances and make decisions on your behalf about the care you receive. This can be expensive and time-consuming, and everyone might not agree about who should have control and what decisions should be made. By making an LPA now, you can prepare for the future and make sure your wishes are respected.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of an LPA depends on what you need and how complex it is. Prices start from £750 + VAT for a single LPA. With our Wills Assured service we offer a 30% discount for making an LPA.
Our friendly and approachable team can offer support and clear guidance, advising you on what action to take to ensure your wishes are followed and your best interests are looked after. We're one of the UK’s leading law firms, and our specialist Tax, Trusts & Estates team located across multiple offices has extensive experience with making LPA’s.
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Supporting You And Your Family
Future planning is one of the biggest investments you can make – not only for yourself, but for your loved ones as well. Please visit Supporting You And Your Family for more ways you can plan for the future.