Lasting Powers of Attorney are an important and powerful tool which enables you to plan for your future. According to the Ministry of Justice, a much larger proportion of people have put Wills in place compared to a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This disparity is most likely down to people not being aware and misunderstanding what LPAs can do for them, and how they work. Here is a brief overview of what LPAs are and how they can help you.
How Do Lasting Powers of Attorney Work?
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:
- A health and welfare lasting powers of attorney.
- A financial affairs lasting powers of attorney.
When a person makes/registers an LPA they are known as the ‘Donor’ and can arrange either one or both of the above.
A health and welfare LPA nominates a person or people, who they trust (“Attorneys”) to act on their behalf. There is no limit to the number of Attorneys you can appoint. It allows the Attorneys to make health and welfare decisions on the Donor’s behalf. The Donor can then give specific wishes that they want their Attorneys to follow.
The financial affairs LPA allows the Attorneys to make financial decisions on behalf of the Donor. The significant benefit is that, while the Donor may still have capacity, dealing with their finances may have become difficult and confusing and the LPA allows the Attorneys to assist you and remove any potential stress. The Donor can specify instructions that the Attorneys must follow. When the LPA has been registered at the Court, the Attorneys will be able to notify financial institutions of its existence and act on behalf on the Donor.
In each case, the Donor is able to nominate people they would like to make aware that an LPA is being put in place. This allows those people to raise any objections. It is up to the Donor whether they want to notify a person or persons or not.
Registering A Lasting Power of Attorney?
LPA(s) are usually submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian (‘OPG’) for registration as soon as possible. The OPG charges a fee for each LPA in the sum of £110.00 (at date of publication). This is means tested; the registration process takes around 10 weeks. Once registration has taken place the Attorneys will be able to act on behalf of the Donor.
Having lasting powers of attorney in place provides peace of mind to both the Donor and Attorneys that should the worst happen, and the Donor is unable to make health and financial decisions for themselves, the Attorneys are able to immediately step in to make decisions on their behalf.
If you need further information on lasting powers of attorney, or would like to arrange to meet with us to discuss your situation, please call us on 01273 407 970 and we’ll be delighted to help.
by Andy Moye