Elderly couple discussing Lasting Power of Attorney with a professional in a modern office.

Lasting Power of Attorney – what you need to know

Introduction

In the realm of securing one’s future, understanding and setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is so important.

A fascinating insight from Willsuite’s 2024 Annual Report reveals that the average age for individuals establishing an LPA is 67.

This statistic underscores a critical delay in safeguarding one’s financial and health-related decisions.

We aim to demystify the process and importance of LPAs, ensuring that you are better prepared and informed far earlier than the current trend suggests.

Whether you are considering setting up an LPA for yourself or advising a loved one, this guide serves as your resource for achieving peace of mind.

 

How Do I Make an LPA?

Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney is a proactive step towards ensuring that someone you trust can manage your affairs if you’re unable to do so yourself.

The process involves choosing attorneys, completing the LPA form, which details the powers you are granting, and signing it in the presence of a witness.

Like many things now, it is possible to DIY, BUT these are important documents and need to be completed with care and attention.

More applications received for registration by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) are rejected when done DIY than by a professional.

We believe it is advisable to seek legal advice to ensure that the LPA accurately reflects your wishes and that all legal requirements are met.

You can read the OPG briefing guide by clicking here (get ready it’s lengthy) – LP12 Make and register your lasting power of attorney: a guide (web version) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

Who are the people involved in an LPA?

When setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), three key roles are involved: the Donor, the Attorneys, and the Certificate Provider.

The Donor is the individual who creates the LPA, effectively appointing one or more Attorneys to make decisions on their behalf.

These Attorneys should not be confused with legal professionals in the US; rather, they are trusted friends or family members designated to handle the Donor’s affairs.

The Certificate Provider is an independent person who certifies that the Donor understands the significance and purpose of the LPA and is not under duress or undue influence when making these decisions.

 

What types of Certificate Provider are there?

In the context of an Lasting Power of Attorney document, there are typically two types of Certificate Providers who can certify the document:

A professional or someone who has known the Donor personally for at least two years.

The professional might be a solicitor, a doctor, or another person qualified to judge the Donor’s mental capacity and understanding of the LPA’s implications.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A professional will normally charge an additional fee for this service. Solicitors typically include this in their fee PER document.

You should always be clear if they are proposing to act for you in this capacity as it is (too often) assumed.

Alternatively, a personal acquaintance, such as a long-time friend or colleague, who is not part of the Donor’s family, can also serve as a Certificate Provider if they meet the criteria of knowing the Donor well enough to make this assessment.

At Beacon Advice we recommend this as the most cost-effective way of still getting advice and having the document prepared by professionals, but it being a more affordable method to use. (see our price guide at – Pricing – Beacon Advice

How Do I Register an LPA?

Once your LPA is completed, it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.

The registration process involves submitting the completed LPA form along with the registration fee (currently £82 per document).

This process ensures that the LPA is legally recognised and can take several weeks, so it is important to register your LPA well in advance of when it might be needed.

 

How Long Does an LPA Last?

An LPA remains valid until the donor either cancels it while they have the mental capacity to do so, or upon the death of the donor.

It is crucial to regularly review and potentially update your LPA to reflect any changes in your circumstances or wishes.

 

How Do I Activate an LPA?

Activation (use of) of an LPA for health and welfare can only occur once the donor has lost mental capacity. So, even if the document is registered, it cannot be used unless the Donor has been signed of by a specialist as having lost their mental capacity.

For property and financial affairs, it can be activated (used) as specified by the donor either before or after they lose capacity.

Activation involves presenting the LPA document to the relevant organisations, like banks or healthcare providers, alongside proof that the donor’s capacity has diminished (for health and welfare LPAs).

REMEMBER – an LPA can only be used if it has been registered by the OPG.

 

Are LPAs Public Documents?

LPAs are not public documents and are only accessible to people named in the LPA or those granted permission by the donor.

The privacy of an LPA ensures that the details of your arrangements are kept confidential.

 

Can an LPA Change a Will?

An LPA does not grant the attorney the power to change the donor’s will.

The will remains a separate legal document that expresses the donor’s wishes regarding the distribution of their estate after their death.

 

How Does an LPA Work in General?

An LPA allows you to appoint people, known as attorneys, to make decisions on your behalf if you lose the capacity to do so yourself. This can include decisions about your finances, property, health care, and personal welfare.

 

When Does an LPA Become Effective?

A financial LPA can become effective as soon as it is registered, based on the donor’s instructions, whereas a health and welfare LPA only becomes effective once the donor has lost mental capacity.

 

Why is an LPA Important?

An LPA is crucial for ensuring that your affairs are managed according to your wishes if you become unable to make decisions yourself.

It provides peace of mind to both you and your loved ones that the power to make decisions on your behalf is in trusted hands.

If you do not have a Financial LPA in place and become legally vulnerable you will probably find your bank account and other assets get frozen.
Without an LPA a Court of Protection order will be needed.
This process is expensive, time consuming and invasive on the applicants.
Normally, once granted, annual / ongoing fees are needed to maintain it.
With an LPA, once it’s in place – it’s done!

 

Is Being an Attorney and an Executor in a Will the Same?

Being an attorney under an LPA and an executor of a will are distinct roles.

An attorney manages your affairs during your lifetime under the terms of the LPA, whereas an executor is responsible for administering your estate after your death according to your will.

 

We hope that you have found us answering the most common questions about LPA’s useful.

If you have any questions do fill out our contact sheet and we will be straight back to you, just click here – Contact / About Us – Beacon Advice

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