A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document used to appoint another person or persons [the Attorney(s)] to act on your behalf. The most elaborate and widely used Power of Attorney is the Lasting Power of Attorney which was introduced in 2007 to replace the old Enduring Power of Attorney.
We prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney to meet your specific needs and are able to act as your Certificate Provider and Witness on the documents. We also complete the process of registering the Power of Attorney at court for you, which is a legal requirement to make the document usable.
If you call for a free home visit to draft your Will, your local consultant will be able to give you a full explanation on Powers of Attorney during your appointment. However, the following explains the uses and differences between the types of Power of Attorney available, to give you a bit more insight before your free consultation.
The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA for short) replaced the old Enduring Power of Attorney in 2007. Although it is a much more elaborate document, an LPA can be made in just a few days, but it will not be valid for use unless it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (the Court). This means that it really takes about three months to complete an LPA ready for use. Registering an LPA at court requires more paperwork than creating the document and carries a registration fee of £82.00 per LPA, payable to the court. However, if you are in receipt of Guaranteed Pension Credit (GPC), we can apply to the Court to have your registration fee waived.
We advise all our clients to have their LPAs registered at the time of making the document to avoid problems and potentially higher costs later.
To remove the decision-making process from the Local Authority, Social Services, the Court or an appointed solicitor and instead place this responsibility in the hands of your own family – your appointed attorneys. (Your family can no longer act on your behalf without a valid Power of Attorney).
The most common Power of Attorney was the Enduring Power of Attorney but that document was abolished in 2007. All Enduring Powers of Attorney created before October 2007 remain valid today but beware, they are limited to your financial affairs only and do not cover matters pertaining to your healthcare needs. Therefore, if you only have an Enduring Power of Attorney, you may wish to consider having the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney made.
Everyone should have a Lasting Power of Attorney. Should you lose your capacity, then you will have lost the right to make a Lasting Power of Attorney altogether and the costs involved can only go up. Once made, you are covered for life so really, the sooner made the better.
Our clients often appoint each other and/or their children to be their Attorneys rather than allow Social Services or the local authority (or the court of protection or solicitor) to handle their affairs if they were unable to do so later through old age, infirmity or loss of capacity. You don’t have to appoint a family member; you can appoint any trusted friend or friends to be your attorney(s) too.
Lasting Power of Attorney comes in two parts:
The Health and Welfare LPA allows you to decide matters such as whether you would prefer to have your care needs met at home rather than a residential care facility, or to specify which residential care facility you would prefer. We can draft details into your Health and Welfare LPA, explicitly expressing your preferences which would serve as guidance for your attorneys to act upon.
Your family can no longer act on your behalf to arrange for healthcare without a valid power or attorney.
The Health and Welfare LPA is vital to aging people across a diverse range of lifestyles. If you intend upon living with one of your children, for example, they would need to be appointed with a Power of Attorney to be legally entitled to handle your welfare matters. They are not able to act on your behalf simply by being a family member!
Similarly, social services may very well decide to place you in residential care if you have no attorney or lasting power of attorney to explain that your preference is to remain in your home. If you wish to join your friends in a particular care home, it is also important to have documentation laid out which clearly expresses your preferences.
Nothing is more important than your health, so don't leave your future to chance! Obtaining lasting power of attorney for health and welfare enables you to make decisions about your welfare well in advance and retain power over your own care needs rather than allowing an unknown person from Social Services determine these for you later.
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to give your attorneys the right to handle your financial affairs, such as dealing with your bank on your behalf. From communicating with bank managers to establishing or cancelling direct debits, never underestimate the importance of having your financial affairs safely in hand with lasting power of attorney! Your attorney will also be able to pay your bills, question any account activity which seems dubious and handle ingoing and outcoming payments for your account. They will also record their transactions in a written format to be referred to in the future, if necessary.
Obtaining lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs is just as important as our health and welfare LPA, which assists you in determining your care options during your old age. More than just dealing with bills and the bank, the Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorneys to rent out or sell your property on your behalf, which would be especially useful if you moved in with loved ones or into a residential care facility.
Our Property and Financial Affairs LPA will allow you to keep your options fully open in later life. Perhaps you'd like to sublet your property and use the rent to pay for your care costs? Perhaps you want your attorneys to manage the sale and proceeds of your house rather than allowing the local authority to step in?