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Solicitors for Lasting power of attorney.
Making our own decisions is something that most of us take for granted.
Decisions affecting our health and finances can be life-changing, and the though of losing the power to make these decisions is scary for many.
However, there might come a time when you, or a loved one, are unable to make your own decisions, and you need to think about making a Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that the best decisions for your wellbeing are made.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was a legal document that could be put in place (prior to 1st October 2007, following the introduction of Lasting Powers of Attorney [LPAs]) whereby the Donor could give permission for their Attorney/s to make decisions on their behalf in relation to Property and Financial matters. You can find out what a ‘Donor’ and ‘Attorneys’ are, below.
What are Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Well, as explained above, LPAs were introduced after 1st October 2007, replacing an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Again, these documents allow the Donor to give permission to Attorneys to make decisions on their behalf. Unlike EPAs, there are two types of LPAs: one relating to Property and Financial decisions, and the other relating to Health and Care decisions.
What types of Lasting Powers of Attorney are there?
There are two types of LPAs: one relating to Financial Decisions, and the other relating to Health and Care Decisions.
The Financial Decisions LPA can be used by your Attorneys to make decisions about things such as:
• Paying the Mortgage
• Investing Money
• Paying Bills
• Arranging repairs to property
The Health and Care Decisions LPA can be used by your Attorneys to make decisions about things such as:
• Where you should live
• Your medical care
• What you should eat
• Who you should see and interact with
• What kind of social activities you should do
It’s important to note that just because your Attorneys can make decisions about the things listed above, you don’t necessarily have to let them (you can include instructions or restrictions when you make the LPAs), and it doesn’t mean they will be able to make decisions about your life instead of you.
What is an LPA Donor?
The Donor is the person who is appointing another person or people to make decisions on their behalf. The Donor must be over the age of 18, and be capable of making their own decisions at the time that the Lasting Power of Attorney is made. In essence, they must be an adult who has mental capacity.
Why choose MG Legal's LPA Solicitors?
MG Legal's LPA Solicitors are experts in drafting and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney, both Health and Welfare decisions (including social care issues, and medical related decisions), and Property & Financial decisions (including decisions relating to stocks, property decisions, banking, etc). Our expert LPA Solicitors can advise you on restrictions that you, as the Donor, may wish to impose upon your Attorney (your decision maker), and what conditions can be imposed on the management of your affairs to help you stay in control of your life.
Our team of LPA Solicitors offer simple, no rush, jargon-free advice, in comfortable surroundings. Don't let the management of your affairs worry you; contact us online today, to speak to a solicitor within one working hour about our LPA services.
I have an Enduring Power of Attorney, do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney as well?
If your Enduring Power of Attorney was correctly completed and signed at the time it was made, and there have been no changes to who you would want to act or who is able to act as your Attorneys, then you may not need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
How much does it cost to make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
It’s really not as expensive as many people think to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Our excellent team of LPA Solicitors will draft the both sets of Lasting Powers of Attorney (Financial Decisions, and Health and Care Decisions) on your behalf, deal with signature of the documents, act as your Certificate Provider and ensure that the documents are fully registered on your behalf; all for the fixed fee of just £450.00 plus VAT for both documents.
There is a registration fee of up to £82.00 per document, although you may be entitled to a fee remission or exemption, which our team can discuss with you. Alternatively, take a look at the LPA fee remission form (also known as LPA12.
Do I have to destroy my Enduring Power of Attorney if I want to make a new LPA?
If you intend to make new Lasting Powers of Attorney, and you wish to ensure that your previous Enduring Power of Attorney cannot be registered, you can revoke your Enduring Power of Attorney.
However, our team would recommend only revoking your Enduring Power of Attorney once your new Lasting Power of Attorney has been registered.
If I make a Lasting Power of Attorney, will I not be able to make decisions anymore?
This is incorrect. The purpose of the forms is to allow people to continue making decisions for themselves, as long as they are able to, whilst giving your Attorneys the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf in the future.
With the Financial Decisions Lasting Power of Attorney, you can choose to allow your Attorneys to use the document straight away, or only in the event that you do not have capacity. The most common option that our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors find that people chose is to allow their Attorneys to use the document straight away, otherwise they may be asked to prove that you no longer have capacity every time they use the document.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you no longer have a choice or you’re unable to make decisions; it simply means that your Attorneys can use the document at your direction. For example, if you are physically less able than you used to be, but you are mentally still capable, you could ask your Attorneys to use the document to carry out day-to-day tasks on your behalf.
Do I need to register my Enduring Power of Attorney?
Enduring Powers of Attorney should not be registered until the Donor begins to lose their mental capacity. The documents are registered with a public body, called the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
Do I have to register my Lasting Powers of Attorney?
In order to be valid, your Lasting Power of Attorney will need to be registered. The public body responsible for registering Lasting Powers of Attorney is the Ofifice of the Public Guardian.
You can find out more about the gov.uk guidance in relation to the Office of the Public Guardian, here.
You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney without registering it immediately. However, if there are any issues with the documents (i.e. you have made a mistake when you drafted them, or you have not signed them correctly), this could mean that the documents cannot be registered until the issues have been corrected. If the Donor has already lost capacity when the application is being made to register the documents, this could cause problems, such as being unable to proceed with the registration.
Can my family make decisions on my behalf without a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Sadly, a common misconception is that a person’s next of kin is automatically entitled to make decisions on their behalf when necessary. This is not always the case, and just because ‘they’re family’, it doesn’t mean they will legally be able to make decisions on your behalf.
So, if they need to assist you with paying bills, or making decisions about your care in the future, they may find this difficult without a registered Lasting Power of Attorney. To speak to an LPA Solicitor today about how we can help you to draft an LPA for a clear, fixed-fee, contact us online here and speak to a solicitor within one working hour.
Does a person need capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Yes. A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be completed and signed if a person has capacity.
Anyone making a Lasting Power of Attorney needs to fully understand the legal implications of the documents, and need to be able to make the decision themselves about who should act as their LPA Attorneys, and any restrictions they may want to add to the documents. After all, they are giving their Attorneys a lot of power, and it should be an individual or people who the Donor trusts.
However, if a person doesn’t have capacity, you may be able to make an application to the Court to be appointed as a Deputy. Read our full list of Court of Protection FAQs.
Mental capacity means that the Donor who is making the Lasting Power of Attorney fully understands the document that they are making, as well as the implications of the document. They also are able to provide their own instructions about who should be appointed as LPA solicitors, and whether they wish to include any preferences or instructions.
How would you assess whether a person has capacity?
Our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors would usually be able to assess whether a person has capacity. If there is any doubt about a person’s capacity and their understanding of the documents, it’s important to have them fully assessed, to prevent any issue with the documents in the future. For example, a GP may be able to attest to a person’s capacity; they may charge a fee for this. This can be in the region of £100.00, although may be more or less depending which GP you instruct.
Who can be my certificate provider?
Your Certificate Provider can be one of two types of people: either a professional, or someone who has known you for at least two years.
Normally, when MG Legal's team are drafting your Lasting Power of Attorney on your behalf, we would be able to act as Certificate Provider.
If you’re not using our professional services, you may be able to ask another professional, such as your GP, or you could ask a neighbour, colleague or friend who has known you for at least two years. You cannot ask a family member or a relative’s partner. In addition, you cannot ask your own partner, if you are unmarried.
What are the different ways of appointing attorneys?
There are different ways your LPA Attorney can Act, if you are appointing more than one: they can either act "jointly" (which means that they must make all decisions together) or "jointly and severally" (which means that they can make decisions together or separately). Alternatively, they can be appointed "jointly" for some decisions, and "jointly and severally" for other decisions.
Quite often, people automatically think that they would want their Attorneys to act "jointly". However, one issue with this can be that if one of the Attorneys is unable to act, for example if they are out of the country, if they become ill, or if they predecease you, this could invalidate the document, and mean that none of your Attorneys can act at all.
Therefore, more often than not, it’s better to appoint your Attorneys to act "jointly and severally".
Do I need a solicitor to make Lasting Powers of Attorney?
Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors are always on hand to offer advice and guidance in relation to making and revoking (essentially, voiding) a Lasting Power of Attorney, and revoking or registering an Enduring Power of Attorney. However, if you feel completely comfortable making these documents on your own, without legal assistance, you are able to.
Many of our clients comment that they had a look at the forms online and decided to try the process alone, without legal assistance. However, they then change their minds and come to our specialist LPA solicitors to get it done quickly, without mistakes, and in a stress-free way.
The forms and documents can be difficult to navigate, and it’s often comforting to have the help of our specialist Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors to make sure that the documents are completed correctly, and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, giving you the peace of mind that you deserve.
How old do you need to be to make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
You would need to be 18 years old to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. As explained above, you would also need to have capacity to enter into this document.
There’s no maximum age for a Lasting Power of Attorney. We’ve had clients ranging from their 20’s, all the way through to their 90’s; whatever your age is, you can make sure that your future is protected by the ones you love.
Am I too young to make an Lasting Power of Attorney? Another common misconception that our team hear a lot is that "I’m too young for a Lasting Power of Attorney, I don’t need one". Sadly, that’s not always the case. Like a Will, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have something in place. You may not need it for a very long time, and you may end up changing it throughout your life if your circumstances change, but it’s always best to have one.
Can I object to the registration of a loved one’s Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you are worried that your loved one has been unduly influenced when making a Lasting Power of Attorney, or you are worried that they have made a Lasting Power of Attorney and they didn't have capacity, you need to contact the Office of the Public Guardian to raise any concerns directly with them.
Or, if you are seeking legal advice in objecting to the registration of a loved one’s Lasting Power of Attorney, contact our LPA Solicitors online here to see how we can help.
What is an Attorney and how many can I appoint?
The LPA Attorney, or Attorneys, are the people appointed by the Donor to make decisions on their behalf. You can appoint one, or more, Attorneys to act on your behalf in your LPA. You can also appoint replacement Attorneys, who can step in to act if one of your initial Attorneys (or your sole, initial Attorney) is unable to act.
Who should I appoint as my Attorneys?
You can appoint anyone that you want, providing that they are over the age of 18, and have mental capacity themselves.
Frequently, people will appoint their spouses, partners, civil partners, children, or other family members. However, people also choose to appoint their closest friends, or a professional, such as our team of Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors.
Can I appoint different attorneys?
This question needs to be considered from a few different points of view.
In terms of the Health and Care Decisions Lasting Power of Attorney and the Financial Decisions Lasting Power of Attorney, yes, you can appoint different Attorneys on both documents. They are separate legal documents, and it’s your choice on both who make decisions on your behalf.
However, in relation to after the Lasting Powers of Attorney have been registered, you cannot change your mind at a later date, and amend the documents by hand. If you wanted to change the Lasting Powers of Attorney, you would need to revoke them and make new ones appointing different Attorneys (not necessarily in that order; it depends what you want to achieve).
What Can My LPA Attorneys Do?
You can include two types of ‘notes’ in your Lasting Power of Attorney, to guide your Attorneys:
These are limits placed on how your Attorneys can act or instructions about how they should act. These are things they will have to follow exactly. If you wish to include any restrictions, you should contact our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitor, as if these are not drafted properly, you could invalidate your Lasting Power of Attorney.
A few examples of instructions are:-
i. “My Attorneys must ensure that I am only given vegan food.”
ii. “My Attorneys must consult a financial advisor before making investments over £5,000.00.”
iii. “My Attorneys are only permitted to access my personal bank account and assets, and they are not permitted to make any decisions relating to my business or access any assets belonging to my business.”
These are things that your Attorneys should bear in mind, but not things that they will have to follow to the letter.
A few examples of preferences are as follows:-
i. “I prefer to live within a mile of my brother.”
ii. “I would like to exercise at least two times per week, whenever I am able to.”
iii. “I would like to keep a minimum balance in my bank account of £500.00, wherever possible.”
Do I need to pay my LPA Attorneys?
If your Attorneys are friends or family, they should not really be paid for acting as your Attorneys. If the Donor wants to compensate the Attorney, for example if they have to leave their job to care for the Donor full time, they should speak to the Office of the Public Guardian, or the Department for Work and Pensions about carer’s allowance.
If your Attorney is a professional, they will usually discuss their charges with you before you agree to appoint them. They will generally charge for any work that they carry out on your behalf as your Attorney. To find out what our expert Lasting Powers of Attorney Solicitors charge to act as your professional Attorney, contact our team online, here.
Can I make copies of my Lasting Power of Attorney for everyone to use?
As a Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal deed, the Office of the Public Guardian stipulates that it must be copied in a particular way. They offer guidance about how to do this when they send you the final document, after it has been registered. However, it’s important to note that most organisations won’t accept just a plain copy of the original document, at least not without sight of the original.
Can my LPA Attorney deal with the sale of my Property?
First of all, as long as you have made a Lasting Power of Attorney relating to Financial Decisions, and it has been registered making it a valid legal document, without any restrictions on how your Attorneys can act, they should be able to sell property on your behalf.
However, as with any Property Sale, if there is more than one owner, and one of the owners is unable to sign documents themselves, there would need to be another independent person who could make decisions on their behalf.
For example, if you appointed your partner to be your sole Attorney, and they wanted to sell a jointly owned property on both of your behalf, this may not be possible at first glance. In order to deal with the property sale, they may need to speak to a solicitor. If you wish to discuss this, contact our team online, here.
However, if you appointed your partner and, for example, your child, both could join together and deal with the sale as your Attorneys, without needing to place the property into a Trust.
If your Attorney is not a co-owner of your property, they should encounter no issues with selling the property.
Can my LPA Attorneys make gifts to themselves?
No, an Attorney should not make gifts to themselves, in most cases. This could be seen as dishonest, and could give people a reason to dispute their ability to act as an impartial, efficient Attorney.
If an Attorney feels like they have no other option than to make a gift to themselves, they should contact our Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors.
Can my LPA Attorneys put me into care?
If you Attorneys are appointed in the Health and Care decisions Lasting Power of Attorney, they may be able to make decisions about putting you into care, providing that you no longer have capacity to make these decisions yourself. If you still have capacity, they won’t be able to make decisions on your behalf about care. Although, you can still discuss this with them, if you wanted to.
Who can witness my signature of the Lasting Power of Attorney documents?
Your signature, and the signature of your Attorneys, must be witnessed by an independent witness over the age of 18, who has capacity themselves. The witness must not be named in the Lasting Power of Attorney, and it shouldn’t generally be the partner, spouse or relative of anyone named in the document.
I have a Lasting Power of Attorney, do I need a will?
Yes. Another common misconception is that if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney, you don’t need a valid Will, and vice versa.
These are both completely separate legal documents. Your Lasting Powers of Attorney can be used only whilst you are still alive. Your Will would only come into effect once you have passed away. Therefore, it’s really important to have both in place. You can read our Wills FAQs, here.