Lasting Powers of Attorney

WHAT IS A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you to appoint someone to make decisions about the following when you are no longer able to make such decisions yourself:

  • Your property and finances – including managing your bank accounts, paying your bills and selling your property.

AND/OR

  • Your health and welfare – including where you live, what medication you take and, in some circumstances, whether you undergo life sustaining treatment.

PROTECTIVE MEASURES

There are a number of measures in place to ensure that you are protected:

  • When you make your Lasting Power of Attorney an “appropriate person” (usually a solicitor or doctor) must provide a certificate to say that you have understood the nature and consequences of signing the document and that you are not under any pressure to sign the same.
  • Your Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
  • Before it is registered we are required to notify someone (usually a relative or friend) that the Lasting Power of Attorney is being created which gives them the opportunity to confidentially object.
  • Your Attorney(s) must act in accordance with some strict principles set out by law. In particular your Attorney(s) must:

a.            Consult with you when making decisions

b.            Always act in your best interests

WHEN CAN MY ATTORNEY(S) ACT?

Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney – Your Attorney(s) can act as soon as the document has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. We recommend that Lasting Powers of Attorney are registered as soon as possible as it can take up to 16 weeks to complete registration. If you lose your capacity suddenly and the document has not been registered there could be substantial delays in paying bills/accessing money. Your Attorney(s) must, however, always act in accordance with the principles laid down by the law and must consult with you and act in your best interests when making decisions. This should not be too much of an issue as you will only ever appoint an Attorney who you completely trust.

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney – Your Attorney(s) can only act when it has been determined that you lack the capability to make decisions by yourself.

WHEN DO WE LOSE CAPACITY?

Losing your ability to make decisions can be permanent or temporary. Much of the time this comes with age. However, it is commonly assumed that Lasting Powers of Attorney are just for the elderly. They are not! If you were 30, running your own business and involved in a car accident, you may well lose your capacity for a period of time. It is advisable to have a Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that your business and personal affairs were dealt with in the interim without either suffering.

We often hear from clients who feel that their mother or father - due to them being very forgetful - have already lost their capacity. Memory loss is not a sufficient enough ground for assuming that someone has lost their capability to make decisions for themselves.

WHO SHOULD BE MY ATTORNEY(S)?

You may appoint one or more attorneys. We recommend that your Attorney(s) be an immediate member of your family, such as husband/wife, children or parents. You can appoint a professional Attorney, such as your solicitor, but we usually charge for our time in acting for you – which can be expensive! As such this is suggested as a last resort. Your Attorney(s) should:

  • Be someone you completely trust and who you are confident will always act in your best interests
  • Have a knowledge and understanding of you and your life
  • Have an ability to perform the role of Attorney (i.e. they should have sufficient time and understanding)
  • Be willing to act as your Attorney
  • Ideally have some experience of caring (for relatives or professionally) – especially where being appointed to make decisions in relation to health and welfare
  • Ideally have some qualifications – academic or vocational – which will help them to manage your property and finances in an effective manner
  • Have excellent listening skills

If your Attorney(s) pass away, become bankrupt or lose the capability to deal with their own affairs, your Lasting Power of Attorney is no longer going to be valid. As a result, providing you are able to still deal with your own affairs you will need to go through the expensive process of making a new Lasting Power of Attorney. We recommend that you appoint more than one Attorney (they do not have to make all decisions together if you do not want them to) and/or appoint a replacement in case the Attorney(s) are not able to act.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The cost of a solicitor preparing your Lasting Power(s) of Attorney varies widely – usually based on geographical location. We try to keep our costs low as these documents are totally essential to everyday life and if created in an efficient fashion, need not be expensive. The cost will depend upon (a) whether you wish for us to register your Lasting Power(s) of Attorney straight away – which we advise - and (b) whether you require one lasting power of attorney or two, (c) whether you need us to visit you at home and (d) how many people wish to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. We will always need to see you at least twice whilst creating a Lasting Power of Attorney but these appointments can be undertaken within a couple of days, making the process quite speedy.

 

 

1 LPA

(health and welfare OR property and affairs)

 

Without registration

1 LPA

(health and welfare OR property and affairs)

 

With registration
 

2 LPAs

(health and welfare AND property and affairs)

 

Without registration

2 LPAs

(health and welfare AND property and affairs)

 

With registration
 

1 person

£300.00 plus VAT

£400.00 plus VAT

+

£110.00 court fee (this is now means tested so if you are receiving benefits do let us know)

£450.00 plus VAT

 

£550 plus VAT

+

£220.00 court fee (this is now means tested so if you are receiving benefits do let us know)

A couple

£450.00 plus VAT

£550.00 plus VAT

+

£220.00 court fee (this is now means tested so if you are receiving benefits do let us know)

£600.00 plus VAT

 

£750.00 plus VAT

+

£440.00 court fee (this is now means tested so if you are receiving benefits do let us know)

 

CAN AN LPA BE CANCELLED?

Yes it can - once your Lasting Power of Attorney has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian, you will need to make an application to them to cancel the power. You must have full capacity at the time and a fee is likely to be payable.

WHAT NEXT?

Thank You

Huxley

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Lewes Office

Castle Works
Westgate Street
Lewes
East Sussex
BN7 1YR

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