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Lasting Power of Attorney specialists
None of us know what is around the corner. Therefore, for complete peace of mind, it is a good idea to have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place.
This means that if you are ill or injured in the future, the people you have chosen in your LPA (your attorneys) will look after your finances, your property, your health and your welfare. They would also make decisions on your behalf and deal with matters while you are not able to do so.
Having an LPA can leave you safe in the knowledge that, whatever happens, your future is taken care of. Why not read our Frequently Asked Questions below to find out more? Or to make an appointment with our Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors, call us on 0800 988 7756 or book an appointment below.
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What Is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two types of LPA:
Property and financial affairs LPA
This can give your attorneys the power to make decisions relating to your finances and property. This can include running your bank accounts, paying your bills and selling your house.
Health and welfare LPA
This type of LPA can give your attorneys the power to make decisions relating to issues such as what medical treatment you would receive, where you would live, who can see your confidential medical records and who can visit you.
How Can We Help with Your Lasting Power of Attorney?
At Levi Solicitors, our solicitors have a wealth of experience and knowledge when it comes to preparing both finance and health and welfare LPAs. We will guide you through each step and give you practical advice on how to use your LPA in the future.
We will meet with you to take your instructions (whether in person or on a video call), and then draft your LPA. Once it is finalised, we will register it at the Office of the Public Guardian.
Why choose our Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors?
Our team is made up of specialist solicitors with many years of experience in advising on Lasting Powers of Attorney. The department is headed by Andrew Milburn who is a member of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly. All of our solicitors are Dementia Friends.
We are proud that our team have been recognised nationally as experts in their field, coming Highly Commended in the Private Client Team of the Year – Wills and Probate in the Modern Law Private Client Awards 2023, and winning Private Client Team of the Year – Boutique at the British Wills and Probate Awards 2023.
Our team are knowledgeable, experienced and empathetic. We will listen to your requirements and give you straightforward, practical advice with no legal jargon.
Here for you, wherever you are
We understand that you will want to know how much everything will cost. All of our Lasting Power of Attorney services are offered on a fixed fee. For more information on our pricing, visit our LPA pricing page.
Weekend and Evening appointments
Life can be busy. So, to make life easier, we offer out of hours appointments to our LPA clients. You can meet with us until 8pm on a Wednesday or on a Saturday morning.
Book an appointment online or call us today on 0800 988 7756 for a FREE initial discussion with our specialist Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors. Our telephone lines are open 8.30am – 9pm, seven days a week.
Lasting Powers of Attorney FAQ
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal arrangement that allows an individual to appoint someone they trust, known as an “attorney,” to make decisions on their behalf should they become unable to do so due to mental or physical incapacity. This crucial legal document ensures that a person’s affairs are managed effectively and in line with their wishes, even if they are no longer able to express those wishes themselves.
If you have made an LPA and were later involved in an accident or suffered from an illness that resulted in you losing your mental capacity, the person or people who you appointed in your LPA (your attorneys) would be able to look after your affairs for you. An LPA cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
There are two main types of LPAs:
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA
- Health and Welfare LPA
For example, someone with a learning disability may be able to make day to day decisions but lack the capacity to make decisions about bigger matters, such as where to live. For people living with dementia, their ability to make decisions may reduce as the dementia progresses.
What does a Property and Financial Affairs LPA cover?
This type of LPA can give your attorneys the power to make decisions relating to your finances and property. This can include running your bank accounts, paying your bills and selling your house.
This type of LPA can be used while you still have mental capacity if you want it to be. This can be very useful if you have mental capacity but are struggling to deal with your finances due to physical problems, such as being unable to get to the bank or hear people over the phone. You can restrict the powers that you give to your attorneys if you wish.
What does a Health and Welfare LPA cover?
Health and Welfare LPAs can give your attorneys the power to make decisions relating to issues such as what medical treatment you would receive, where you would live, who can see your confidential medical records and who can visit you. This type of LPA can only be used once you have lost your mental capacity.
This can put your chosen attorneys in a much stronger position to fight your corner should they be unhappy with the care that you are receiving.
What happens if I lose my mental capacity and do not have an LPA?
Property and Finances
If you lose your mental capacity and you do not have an LPA, it is likely that somebody will have to make an application for a court order to allow them to deal with your property and financial affairs. The person appointed would be known as your ‘deputy’. Your deputy may not necessarily be someone you would have chosen.
Obtaining the court order can be very slow, stressful and expensive. Once the order is made, the court will then have a duty to supervise your deputy. It is likely that your deputy will have to:
- Submit annual accounts to court
- Pay annual court fees
- Pay annual insurance fees
- Meet with court-appointed visitors
By making an LPA you get to decide who will deal with your affairs if you lose your mental capacity. The LPA will make the process much easier for those involved as they will not have to obtain a court order. An LPA is much cheaper than obtaining a court order. No annual fees are payable and there will be no requirement for your attorneys to submit annual accounts.
In many ways an LPA is like taking out insurance; you hope that you will never need it, but if you do, it is usually money well spent.
Health and Welfare
If you don’t have the Health and Welfare LPA and you lost capacity, this type of decision would be made by the relevant authorities such as doctors, care providers or Adult Social Care. They should consult your family, but your family have no power to make decisions. If you have the Health and Welfare LPA, then your chosen attorneys have the power to make these decisions as if they were you.
Who should I choose as my attorney(s)?
An LPA is a powerful document, so it is vital that you choose your attorneys wisely. Most importantly, your attorneys should be people who you trust. An attorney for Property and Financial Affairs will have access to your finances so it is essential that you do not appoint somebody who may abuse the powers they are given.
It is possible to appoint more than just one attorney. When appointing multiple attorneys, you can decide whether they must act jointly or jointly and severally.
- By appointing attorneys to act jointly, they must always make decisions together. This can be a useful safeguard as the attorneys should be able to keep an eye on what the other is doing. However, it can make the day to day running of your affairs more time-consuming.
Having attorneys appointed jointly can also cause problems if one of the attorneys is unable to act for some reason. It can also cause problems if the attorneys are unable to agree.
- By appointing attorneys to act jointly and severally, either one of them can act by themselves. This can make life much simpler for the attorneys, but you must be aware that either attorney can act without the other’s knowledge.
How do I get Lasting Power of Attorney?
Obtaining Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) involves a structured legal process to ensure that your future interests are safeguarded. The general process of getting an LPA is, as follows:
- Choose an attorney: Decide who you want to appoint as your attorney. This should be someone you trust and who understands your preferences.
- Select the type of LPA: Determine whether you need a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, a Health and Welfare LPA, or both, depending on the areas you want your attorney to manage.
- Complete the forms: Obtain the relevant LPA forms from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) or online. Complete the forms accurately, including your personal information and the details of your chosen attorney(s).
- Notify people: Inform people who need to know about your decision, such as family members and the attorneys themselves. This helps prevent disputes later on.
- Certificate provider: You need a “certificate provider” to confirm that you understand the implications of the LPA. This could be a professional like a doctor, lawyer, or even someone you’ve known for at least two years.
- Register with the OPG: Send your completed forms along with the registration fee to the OPG. They will review the forms to ensure they’re correctly filled out.
- Waiting period: There is a waiting period during which interested parties can raise any concerns. This is usually about four weeks.
- Receive registration and activation: Once the LPA is registered and the waiting period is over, you can use it immediately or specify that it should only come into effect if you lose mental capacity.
What is the difference between a power of attorney and a lasting power of attorney?
The distinction between a Power of Attorney (POA) and a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) centres around their scope, duration, and purpose. A POA grants someone the authority to act on your behalf in specific matters for a set period, often used for short-term needs like managing financial transactions during your absence. However, it becomes invalid if you lose mental capacity.
On the other hand, an LPA is more comprehensive and designed for long-term planning. It enables someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become mentally incapacitated, ensuring continuity in decision-making. There are two types of LPAs: one covering Property and Financial Affairs, and the other focusing on Health and Welfare matters. Unlike a regular POA, an LPA remains effective even when you lose mental capacity.
Who can have Lasting Power of Attorney?
Anyone aged 18 or older, with the mental capacity to understand the implications of their decision, can create a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This legal arrangement empowers individuals to choose a trusted person to make decisions on their behalf if they were to lose mental capacity in the future. The appointed attorney should be someone the individual trusts to act in their best interests and follow their wishes.
The person making the LPA holds the authority to select who will be their attorney(s). The chosen attorney(s) could be a family member, friend, or even a professional like a solicitor. It’s crucial that the attorney is willing and able to take on the responsibilities associated with the role.
While there are no specific restrictions on who can be appointed as an attorney, it’s advisable to choose someone who is financially responsible and capable of making informed decisions. Additionally, appointing multiple attorneys and specifying how they should make decisions can offer additional layers of security and checks.
Ultimately, the ability to have an LPA underscores the importance of proactive planning for potential incapacity. This can ensure that personal, financial, and health-related decisions are entrusted to someone who understands and respects your wishes.
Who can witness a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The witnessing of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is subject to specific guidelines to ensure its legality and authenticity. The witness must be at least 18 years old and not be the one of the attorneys appointed in the LPA. Additionally, the witness should not be a family member or a partner of the donor or attorney.
Ideally, the witness should be someone impartial who has no direct interest in the LPA or its contents. This requirement aims to prevent any potential conflicts of interest and to ensure the document’s credibility.
Witnesses play a critical role in the LPA process. They confirm that the donor signed the document of their own free will and that they understood its implications. Witnesses must sign the LPA in the presence of the donor. This confirms that the document has been executed properly and without any undue influence.
By adhering to these guidelines, the witnessing process ensures that the LPA is valid and reflects the genuine intentions of the donor. Choosing appropriate witnesses helps to avoid potential disputes or challenges in the future.
How long does it take to get a lasting power of attorney?
The timeline for obtaining a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can vary based on several factors. On average, the process takes around 8 to 10 weeks from the time we submit the completed forms to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). However, this timeframe can be influenced by factors such as any issues that arise during the waiting period, and the current processing times at the OPG.
Once we have submitted the LPA forms, there is a mandatory waiting period of about four to six weeks during which interested parties, such as family members or potential attorneys, can raise concerns or objections. If no issues arise during this period, the OPG will register the LPA, and we will receive confirmation of its registration.
It’s important to note that unexpected delays can occur, and the processing time might be longer if the forms are incomplete or if there are any discrepancies. To ensure that everything is completed accurately, we strongly advise you instruct solicitors to apply for the LPA.