1. What is a lasting power of attorney?
A lasting power of attorney or LPA is a 20 page legal document that enables you to select one or more people to manage your affairs when you are unable to. These individuals are called attorneys and are often chosen from trusted friends, family or colleagues.
A lasting power of attorney doesn’t impact an existing will, but is often prepared alongside a will as part of preparing for the future.
2. What does lasting power of attorney cover?
Depending on what you need to be managed, there are two types of lasting power of attorney:
- Health and Welfare LPA allow your attorneys to make decisions that affect your physical and mental wellbeing. These decisions can include your diet and housing, what healthcare you have access to and where you receive it.
- Property & Finance LPA’s give attorneys the right to manage your properties and money. Once activated, attorneys are responsible for paying bills and mortgages, buying or selling properties and collecting pensions and other benefits.
3. How much does an LPA cost?
When drafting a lasting power of attorney, the costs are:
- Health & Welfare LPA – £99 single, £198 pair
- Property & Finance LPA – £99 single, £198 pair
- LPA (Health & Welfare + Property & Finance – £198 single, £396 pair
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4. Benefits of having a lasting power of attorney
- When you can no longer look after your health or finances, someone you trust can make decisions for you.
- Depending on your circumstances, you can choose which power of attorney you want to register.
- Having a lasting power of attorney in place is much cheaper than applying for deputyship.
- LPA’s are activated immediately once you can’t take care of yourself.
5. The importance of having lasting power of attorney
With a registered lasting power of attorney, you can relax knowing that if you lose the ability to care for yourself in the event of illness, accident or old age, that someone you trust will care for you.
By having a lasting power of attorney that gives your attorney the power to manage your health and finances, you can provide instructions for them to follow when acting on your behalf. These instructions should outline your preferences for financial and healthcare matters, identifying the issues most important to you that you want to be taken care of.
In order to prepare a lasting power of attorney, you must be able to care for yourself and understand the importance of what you wish to sign. Should you lose this decision making capacity, you cannot create an LPA.
Without an LPA in place, your loved ones have no legal right to manage your healthcare or finances should you lose mental capacity. The process of getting deputyship can be lengthy, expensive and incredibly stressful for your friends and family.
6. Mirror Lasting Power of Attorney Documents
Mirror LPA’s are another type of document that allow couples to select their partner as an attorney if they can’t care for themselves. Similarly, they can also select the same person as an attorney to make decisions for them, usually friends, family or children.
7. What if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you lose mental capacity before an LPA is created, you lose all control of your healthcare and financial assets, whether accepting medical treatment or accessing money from your pension. It is often assumed that your next-of-kin gain control but unfortunately this is not true.
For a friend or family member to gain control over your medical and financial decisions, they must first apply to the Court of Protection and then wait for the Court to grant ‘deputyship’. This deputy is then responsible for handling your affairs, but becoming a ‘deputy’ is a much more complicated and expensive process than choosing an attorney through an LPA.
If you want to have someone you trust care for you and your assets without all the stress of applying for ‘deputyship’, a lasting power of attorney can grant peace of mind at a much lower cost.
CALL TO ACTION:
- To start your lasting power of attorney today, click here
8. What are the different types of LPA?
Under English law, two types of lasting power of attorney are offered. These are:
- Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
- Property & Finance Lasting Power of Attorney
9. Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
A health and welfare lasting power of attorney enables you to select individuals you trust to make decisions about your healthcare and quality of life when you lose mental capacity. These decisions can include choosing medical treatment, managing accomodation and your daily routine.
Unlike a property & finance LPA, this only applies once you lose the mental capacity to handle these affairs yourself.
10. Property & Finance Lasting Power of Attorney
A property & finance LPA is used to allow you to appoint attorneys to control all of your property & financial affairs within England and Wales. These decisions can include the buying and selling of property, making payments for bills and supporting loved ones.
Unlike health and welfare LPA’s, property and finance lasting powers of attorney can be used while you still have mental capacity, whether you spend a lot of time abroad or are restricted by illness or disability.
11. When does lasting power of attorney begin?
For a power of attorney to come into effect, there are several variations depending on the type of LPA that you have used.
A Health & Welfare LPA will become active once you are judged to no longer have mental capacity and can’t care for yourself.
Property & Finance LPAs can be activated before loss of mental capacity as long as you give permission first. If you don’t grant permission to your attorneys, the LPA will begin after you lose mental capacity.
12. Do I need a witness to register a lasting power of attorney?
To register an LPA, you will need an independent person to witness the signing of documents. This person must be 18+, not listed as an attorney and have full mental capacity. If you draft an LPA without a witness, it becomes invalid.
13. Does a lasting power of attorney affect my will?
No it doesn’t. Lasting power of attorney is only valid as long as you are alive. Upon death, your attorneys lose all control over managing your affairs and responsibilities are handed over to the executors of your estate.
14. How do I make a lasting power of attorney?
To make an LPA, you can either use online resources provided by the Government to do it yourself or seek professional assistance like Zen. Due to LPAs being a serious document that can affect the rest of your life, many people choose to use expert solicitors to get it done correctly.
15. Office of Public Guardian application costs
For a lasting power of attorney to be usable, it has to be registered with The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) for a one-time fee. Should you choose Zen to prepare your LPA, we will require you to include this payment.
Exemptions are available if you have access to certain government benefits, as well as a 50% reduction in cost if you have financial issues or receive Universal Credit. For more information, please refer to the Office of the Public Guardian website.