A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document that lets you appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf – an Attorney (or Attorneys).
It is imperative that the person you appoint as an Attorney should be someone you trust to make major decisions on your behalf. You can appoint a friend, relative, or professional to act as your Attorney – providing they are over the age of 18 and have the required mental capacity.
There are two types of LPA, one that covers health and welfare, and the other which covers property and financial affairs. The Health and Welfare LPA will only come into effect if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. At this point, your appointed Attorney(s) will be able to make decisions concerning your daily care, medical care, and also any life sustaining treatment you might require.
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your Attorney(s) to manage your finances on your behalf. This can include paying bills, accessing your bank accounts, and even making financial decisions for you. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can also be used to buy and sell property. This LPA can be used as soon as it has been registered, whatever your personal decision-making capacity.
Each LPA is currently taking approximately 10 weeks to register, and will incur an £82 registration fee from the Office of the Public Guardian. Preparing LPAs while you are fit and healthy will give you the peace of mind that – if something was to happen in the future – the documents already exist, and will allow a person of your choosing to act on your behalf.
In the unfortunate event that you lose capacity and do not have LPAs in place, then an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to cover the role that an Attorney would have carried out for you. Making this application is a costly and complicated process: the application fee to be a Deputy is currently £365, and should the court then decide that the case needs a hearing, a further charge of £485 is due.
For more information please call David Lee Solicitors 01926 852 188.