Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you (the ‘Donor’) appoint people (your ‘Attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf.
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) have been replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). EPAs can still be used if they were made and signed before October 2007. However, the Attorneys must register the EPA if the donor is losing, or has lost the ability to make their own decisions.
There are two types of LPA:
- Property and financial affairs
- Health and welfare
You can choose to make one type or both. You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity – the ability to make your own decisions – when you make an LPA.
LPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
If a person is not able to make their own decisions, a ‘Deputy’ can be appointed by the Court of Protection instead.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
This lets you choose one person or more to make decisions about money and property for you including:
- Paying bills
- Claiming benefits
- Selling your home
- Managing your bank accounts
- Investing money on your behalf
This type of LPA can be used as soon as it is registered, with your permission. For further information about registration, please see below.
Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to choose one person or more to make decisions about things like:
- Your daily routine (eg eating and what to wear)
- Medical care
- Moving into a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment
This type of LPA can only be used when you are unable to make your own decisions. It must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (please see below).
Choosing Your Attorney
When choosing an attorney, think about:
- How well the person looks after their own affairs, eg their finances
- If you trust them to make decisions in your best interests
- How happy they will be to make decisions for you
Your attorney can be anyone 18 or over including:
- A relative or friend
- A professional such as a solicitor
- Your husband, wife or partner
For your protection, other people chosen by you should be told about your LPA. These people will be listed in your LPA.
LPAs can only be used if they have been registered by the Office of the Public Guardian. This usually takes up to 8 weeks.
Before registration, a ‘notice of intention to register’ must be sent to all the people to be told about the LPA. They have 3 weeks to raise any concerns.
How much do you charge for LPAs?
Our standard charge for preparing and registering a single LPA is £475 plus VAT.
If you and your partner both prepare LPAs and/or you require both types of LPA then our standard charges are discounted:
- Two LPAs - £675 plus VAT
- Four LPAs - £875 plus VAT
The court registration fee for each LPA is £82 but you may not have to pay the fees if you receive means-tested benefits or a low income.
If you make a Will at the same time, we offer a 10% discount on our fees for the LPA.
Why should I make an LPA?
People often feel that LPAs are only relevant for the elderly, but there are many reasons why you might need someone to make decisions on your behalf.
You might need temporary help if you are in hospital or if you are working abroad. Or you might need long-term help in the unfortunate event that you are diagnosed with early dementia or suffer from a stroke.
An LPA should be viewed as an insurance policy. Hopefully, it will never be needed but if one day it is, both you and your family will be thankful.
What if I need someone to act on my behalf urgently?
The process of preparing and registration takes some time. If you need assistance urgently then a General Power of Attorney ("GPA") can offer a temporary solution.
This costs from £125 plus VAT. Please contact one of our legal advisors for further information.
What if a person no longer has capacity to make an LPA?
If a person is not able to make their own decisions, you may be able to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their ‘Deputy’.
If you wish to make an LPA, you must have sufficient mental capacity to do so. It is therefore essential that you do not leave it too late. For further information, please contact one of our specialists in the Wills, Trusts and Probate Team.