LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY – EXPLAINED
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you can no longer do so.
These legal documents are recognised by financial institutions, care homes and local authorities as well as tax, benefits and pension authorities.
Do you need an LPA?
It is a common misconception that an LPA is only necessary for elderly people and while it is correct that more people of advancing years do take out an LPA, an LPA is equally essential for a young person as it is for an elderly person. The fact is that you could lose mental or physical capacity at any age. Having an LPA in place acts as a safeguard, giving you the peace of mind that, were tragedy to strike, you would have in place someone you trust with the authority to make necessary decisions on your behalf. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney your spouse or partner may not be able to access your assets or manage your financial affairs and welfare needs. Your family would then have to apply to the Court of Protection to secure your benefits, arrange appropriate care and access insurance payments or pension benefits. This Court process can be lengthy, costly and stressful for those concerned; it is therefore prudent (and considerably cheaper) to register an LPA as soon as possible.
An LPA doesn’t mean a loss of control of your affairs, it simply offers peace of mind- YOU still choose whether it is used before, or only if, you suffer severe mental decline.
There are two different forms of Lasting Power of Attorney that can be made. One deals with your property and financial affairs and the other deals with your health and personal welfare issues. You can make one form of Lasting Power of Attorney without making the other. The Office of the Public Guardian will maintain a record of all registered Lasting Powers of Attorney. Here at My Local Solicitor Ltd. we pride ourselves in providing the best legal service to the client by assisting and advising them on the matter and answering any questions the client may have.
When make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
You need to have sufficient mental capacity to understand the implications of the LPA at the time it is made. It takes up to 16 weeks to register a Lasting Power of Attorney at the Office of the Public Guardian. If you lack sufficient mental capacity as result of an accident or an illness, you will be unable to create your own LPA and ultimately the Court will need to make one on your behalf.
All of us at My Local Solicitor Ltd. have extensive experience dealing with and applying for the registration of an LPA, as well as all Court of Protection matters. If a family member has lost mental capacity with no LPA in place and it is likely that an application to the Court of Protection will need to be made, we have the expertise to assist you.
Matters to consider when making an LPA
The decisions you make will have significant legal implications as to how your affairs are managed after you become incapable and as the donor – the person who is making the LPA – we will give you guidance on each of the following points:
- Whom to choose to be your attorney. If you are making an LPA for property and financial affairs, any attorney you choose must meet certain requirements.
- The number of attorneys to appoint.
- If more than one attorney is to be appointed, do you want them to act jointly and what will be the extent of their powers?
- Whether replacement attorneys will need to be appointed.
- Whether there are any special instructions you wish to include for your attorneys.
- The indication to others of any preferences or wishes you have in the event that you lose mental capacity.
- If you want your attorneys to be paid.
- Whether you want anyone to be notified about registration of the LPA.
- You will need a Certificate Provider. A Certificate Provider is a person who confirms so far as he/she is aware that you understand the nature and scope of the LPA and was not induced to make it by fraud or undue pressure. Your Certificate Provider must be an independent and impartial third-party. My Local Solicitor Ltd. can act as a Certificate Provider on your behalf.
- The completed LPA forms will include your full details and those of your attorneys and must be signed by you, your attorneys and your Certificate Provider. Your LPA will not be valid unless it is in the prescribed form and properly executed.
How My Local Solicitor Ltd can assist you
An LPA can be very flexible, but it is important that you understand the legal implications, not only of making an LPA, but its consequences.
We assist clients with the completion of LPAs on a daily basis and can advise you on all the legal formalities. We have extensive experience in guiding clients through the process from the taking of initial instructions to registering the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.
If you are an attorney in need of legal assistance and/or advice in relation to your duties, we can help you to ensure you act in compliance with the legal obligations incumbent upon you in your capacity as attorney.
If you are considering making an LPA and require assistance with its preparation and registration, My Local Solicitor Ltd. is here to assist you. Contact us to arrange a FREE, no-obligation home consultation during which we would be happy to discuss your requirements.