Anyone who wants to have peace of mind, knowing that, if the need arose, their affairs and welfare would be looked after by a person they know and trust, should think about Lasting Powers of Attorney.
What would happen if, through illness or accident, you were to become unable to make decisions for yourself? Currently over 850,000 people in the UK suffer with dementia and this is predicted to rise to over 1.1m by 2025 (ref www.alzheimers.org.uk).
- Who would look after your property and finances?
- Who would make decisions about your care and welfare?
If these issues concern you, you should think about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
Please scroll down to see our latest video on Lasting Powers of Attorney.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a powerful legal document whereby you give authority to another person to manage your affairs and make decisions in your best interests if you should ever be unable to do so yourself.
This person is known as your Attorney. You can appoint an Attorney to carry out a specific action, for example, to act on your behalf in a property transaction.
It allows you to leave important decisions to those you trust and not to chance.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney will not continue if you lose mental capacity but a Lasting power of Attorney (LPA) does continue if you lose mental capacity.
In addition, you can give a Lasting Power of Attorney over all your property and affairs — not just specific tasks.
It is easy to arrange a Lasting Power of Attorney and ensures that you are prepared for whatever may happen in your life.
Who can make a Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 who has the full mental capacity to understand the use and effect of an LPA.
They should be someone you trust completely and ideally you should 2 or 3 Attorneys.
Disadvantages of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney
- If you were to become mentally incapable no one would have authority to deal with your property and finances.
- This would mean no one could access your bank or savings accounts. No payments could be made and money would not be available to pay for your day-to-day needs.
- If your property needed to be maintained, let or sold, no one would be able to do so.
- An application would need to be made to the Court of Protection to appoint someone as a Deputy to look after your property and affairs.
- If any decisions needed to be made about your personal welfare when you have lost mental capacity then usually people looking after you such as carers, social workers and medical professionals would make decisions on your behalf, which although may be in your best interests, may not be what you would wish yourself.
Some frequently asked questions
I already have a relative who has authority to manage my accounts, should I still consider an LPA?
If you have already given someone authority to manage your accounts, you should still consider an LPA because if you were to lose mental capacity, other forms of authority given by you before you lost capacity would become invalid.
What would happen if I were to become incapable of making decisions for myself due to mental incapacity?
If you had appointed someone as your attorney under a valid LPA in relation to your property, this person would be able to manage your property and affairs for you in your best interests.
A valid LPA in respect of Health and Welfare would enable your attorney to make personal decisions on your behalf, for example where you should live or what medical treatment you should have.
Why are there two kinds of LPA? Can I cover everything in one document?
They are two separate documents and must be signed separately because they have different effect.
- A Property and Finance LPA can, if you so chose, be used by your Attorney to help you manage your affairs even if you are capable of doing so yourself. You may simply prefer to allow your attorney to look after your property and finances for you, subject to whatever instructions you may wish to give.
On the following video you can hear Catherine Crabtree explain the importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Finance.
- A Health and Welfare LPA on the other hand can only ever be used by your attorney to make decisions for you about your health and welfare if you are unable to make such decisions yourself.
On the following video you can hear Catherine Crabtree explain the importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
A Property and Finances LPA may therefore be of practical use to you at any time, but a Health and Welfare LPA would only be used if you ever lost mental capacity. You can appoint different people to act as your attorney in respect of your property and affairs and your health and welfare.
Who should think about making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
While older people are more at risk of suffering from illnesses like dementia, an accident or serious illness which affects mental capacity can happen to anyone.
Martin Lewis OBE,
Martin Lewis OBE is an award-winning campaigning TV and radio presenter, newspaper columnist, author and, according to Google, the most searched-for British man.
The charges quoted in both these articles for using a solicitor are only estimates and costs at Thomas Dunton for an LPA are lower than those given.
Lasting powers of Attorney — Registration fee refunds
You are entitled to a partial refund for your fees for registering a Power of Attorney, if the fees were paid
between April 2013 and March 2017, owing to the Office of the Public Guardian overcharging for registration.
Anyone who made an application to register a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) between these dates is able to claim a refund.
You may claim the following refund for each LPA, depending when the fees were paid:
April 2013 to September 2013 £54
October 2013 to March 2014 £34
April 2014 to March 2015 £37
April 2015 to March 2016 £38
April 2016 to March 2017 £45
For more information and to claim your refund visit www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund
or call 0300 456 0300 (choose option 6).