What is an LPA?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to help make decisions with you (if you still have mental capacity) or on your behalf should you lose capacity in the future. The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called the Attorneys. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a completely separate document to your Will although many people put them in place at the same time as drafting their Will. This is highly recommended as part of planning for the future. If you leave it too late and no longer have capacity you cannot have an LPA, you would need a Deputyship. A Deputyship can be very expensive, time consuming and complicated.
The cost of delay will be devastating should you leave it too late!
Why is an LPA so important?
Once you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place you can have peace of mind that there is someone you trust to look after your affairs if you became unable to do so either temporarily or permanently yourself during your lifetime. For example, because of an illness, old age, an accident, or if you work away.
Having a LPA 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 LPA can include binding instructions together with general preferences for your attorney to consider. Your LPA should reflect your particular wishes so you know that the things that matter most would be taken care of.
You can only put a LPA in place whilst you are capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document i.e. you have the required legal capacity. After this point, you cannot enter into a LPA and no one can do so on your behalf. In the unfortunate scenario that you don’t have legal mental capacity then deputyship would be required to manage your affairs, which will be significantly more costly and time consuming.
Many people don’t know that their next of kin has no automatic legal right to manage their spouse’s affairs without having a LPA in place, so having to make decisions on their behalf can become prolonged and significantly more expensive.
The best solution is for couples to have ‘Mirror’ (identical) Lasting Power of Attorneys because these documents would allow them to appoint each other to make decisions about each other’s financial affairs and health issues should one of them lose capacity to do so.
Single Power of Attorney for either property and finance or health and welfare costs £250 + VAT*
Two Power of Attorneys simultaneously costs £390 + VAT* for same person
Four Power of Attorneys £695 + VAT* for a couple
* All LPA’s have an additional registration fee to the Office of Public Guardian currently set at £82 per LPA. These fees can be less if you are on low income or free if you are in receipt of some means tested benefits.
Find out more about the different types of LPA here
For any Lasting Power of Attorney requirements, please contact one of our friendly, local team today.