Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s) are important legal documents which allow you to transfer the power to make decisions about your affairs to someone else, in the event that you lose the ability to make decisions on your own.
This is something that families often overlook or are not aware of.
Under an LPA, you grant control over your affairs to another person (called your “Attorney”), usually a relative or close friend who you trust.
There are two types of LPA, one covering your Health and Welfare and another covering your Property and Financial affairs.
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives your Attorney the authority to handle property and financial matters on your behalf, whilst the Health and Welfare LPA covers decisions relating to your social and personal needs.
Putting both LPA’s in place now does not mean that control of your Health and Welfare, or Property and Financial decisions, are taken away from you.
As long as you have the capacity to make decisions, as defined by the Mental Health Act 2005, you continue to retain full control over all of your affairs.
What it does mean however, is that if your mental capacity does deteriorate, then you have already made arrangements for someone to take over. It is a sensible way to plan forward.
Unfortunately, your capacity can deteriorate very quickly and once it is determined that you don’t have the capacity to make decisions for yourself, your family will have to apply to the Court of Protection for what’s called a Deputyship Order, in order to gain “control” over your affairs, if you have not put LPA’s in place.
This can be expensive and importantly it takes time.
Currently, solicitors can charge a fixed fee set by the Court of £850 plus VAT to deal with the process of applying for a Deputyship Order through the Court of Protection. It is entirely normal for fees to be greater however, and sometimes far greater than the fixed costs limits.
There are also other additional costs, as the Court requires a number of medical forms and reports to be filled in, for which most doctor’s charge.
A Deputyship Order also usually only relates to a specific set of circumstances, if other decisions need to be taken, for example paying for a Care Home, then often you will have to go back to the Court for permission, which incurs further fixed costs and solicitors fees.
Having an LPA in place means that nominated Attorneys can deal with all the necessary decisions without the need to involve the Court.
If you put LPA’s in place whilst you still have capacity, it will save both time and money.
We provide a comprehensive LPA Service to clients. We take detailed instructions from you about who you want to appoint as your Attorneys, then arrange for your LPA(s) to be drawn up.
Once your LPA(s) are prepared, we will come and see you and go through them with you to make sure everything is covered according to your wishes, and arrange for them to be registered.
The LPA Service currently costs from £350 for Single LPA’s and from £400 for Joint LPA’s.
It’s important to understand that you can also prepare your LPA(s) now without actually registering them with the Court. If you do that, your Attorney simply needs to register them for you, if you lose capacity. This may save some money because the Court charges a fixed registration fee which is currently £110 per LPA.
However, if you don’t register your LPA(s) now the Court fees could go up in the future.
If you would like to know more about our LPA Service, please contact us for an initial discussion. You are under no obligation and all initial discussions and initial meetings are FREE of charge.