Lasting power-of-attorney

What is a lasting power-of-attorney? (LPA)

A lasting power-of-attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime. The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called the attorneys. The lasting power of attorney is a separate legal document to your will, although many people put them in place at the same time as getting their will written, as part of planning for the future.

Without a lasting power-of-attorney in place there is no one with legal authority to manage your affairs, for example, to access bank accounts or investments in your name or sell your property on your behalf. Unfortunately, many people assume that their spouse, partner, or children will be able to take care of things, but, that simply isn’t the case.

In these circumstances, for Someone to obtain legal authority over your affairs, that person would need to apply to the court of protection and the court will decide on the person to be appointed to manage our affairs. The person chosen is appointed as your deputy. This is a very different type of attorney. In order to avoid having your relatives needing to go through a costly and complicated process of applying to the court of protection, consider making a lasting power-of-attorney.

Additionaly there is nothing to stop you downloading the LPA forms from the government website and submitting the application to the office of the public guardian yourself. However, there are many areas where applicants make mistakes, particularly in the signing and witness process. If you need to arrange an LPA urgently and require advice, we can help to file a good solid error free application with less chance of rejection, the current waiting time to register a LPA is in excess of 20 weeks.

There are two types of LPA:

The health and welfare LPA: lets your attorney make decisions about your medical treatment and day-to-day care this can include where you live, what you eat, what medical treatment you receive and who you see.

Property and financial affairs LPA: lets your attorney handle and make decisions about your money and property. This can include paying your bills, selling your property, collecting your pension, and collecting your benefits.

Mirror lasting power-of-attorney documents

One solution for couples is to have mirror lasting power-of-attorney documents. As the name suggests, these documents will mirror one another, allowing each person to appoint the other to make decisions for them.

Once you have lasting power-of-attorney in place you can have peace of mind that there is someone you trust to look after your affairs if you become unable to do so yourself during your lifetime. This may occur, for example, because of an illness or old-age or an accident.

Having a lasting power-of-attorney in place, can allow your attorney to have authority to deal with your finances and property as well as make decisions about your health and welfare. Your lasting power-of-attorney can include instructions for your attorney, as well as your general preferences for them to consider. Your LPA should reflect your wishes.

Proving mental capacity when making a lasting power-of-attorney

The term mental capacity refers to an individual’s ability to make their own decisions, and an individual needs to arrive at the decision to put an LPA in place. This means they must fully understand what the document is, how it works and its implications. They must also be making their decisions independently and be able to communicate these decisions either verbally, using sign language or by some form of movement such as blinking or squeezing a hand. If someone has been diagnosed with a condition that will ultimately compromise their ability to make decisions, an assessment is to be carried out to determine whether they have the capacity to put an LPA in place.

Does a lasting power-of-attorney continue after death?

No, power-of-attorney does not continue after death. Once you die, your attorney will no longer have the authority to make decisions on your behalf. Instead, this responsibility will fall to the executors of the administrators of your estate.

Who can witness a lasting power-of-attorney?

Only an independent adult can witness your LPA.

Therefore, none of your attorneys can act as witnesses. Whoever you choose must be aged 18 or over and be of sound mind. If you don’t get your LPA witnessed properly, it may be considered invalid.

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Registering your lasting power-of-attorney.

Before lasting power-of-attorney can be used by your attorney it must be registered with the office of the public guardian OPG. They charge a fee for this. If you would like us to register your LPA for you then we will ask you to provide this payment.

Exemptions for people who receive certain means tested benefits, and a 50% fee reduction may be available based on the applicant’s financial circumstances or a reduction based on the applicant receiving universal credit.

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