How to Establish a Lasting Power of Attorney

Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is something that many people don’t consider during later life planning. However, it is an essential document to have in place, even if you are in good health.

Why Establish an LPA?

Mental capacity is defined as the ability to make and communicate decisions while understanding what they are, why you need to make them, and the outcome of the decision. Even with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, someone may still retain mental capacity or may have the capacity to make some decisions but not others.

An LPA allows an attorney you appoint to make decisions on your behalf. You may not think you need one; however, it is much more useful than you think. For example, if you are in hospital or find it hard to get out to the bank, your attorney (this could be your partner, spouse, child or other trusted person) will be able to access your accounts for you, carry out your instructions, keep up with bills and mortgage payments, and make decisions on your care. 

Some people assume that their spouse will automatically be able to deal with their bank accounts, pensions, and healthcare if they lose capacity; however, without an LPA, they will not have the authority to do so. 

LPAs must be established when you have full mental capacity. If they are not established until someone loses or loses capacity, it is often too late. Establishing one early can give you peace of mind knowing that someone you trust will manage your affairs if you need extra help in the future. 

Establishing an LPA

Your LPA, or LPAs, must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), and applications must be submitted by the donor (the person whose health and welfare it covers). There are various forms to fill out to register an LPA, and there are several steps to establishing it: 

  1. Choose an attorney – you can select more than one attorney to act on your behalf. In the LPA forms, you will be asked for the details of your attorney/s and if you would like them to act jointly or jointly and severally. Being able to act severally allows attorneys to operate separately from one another, which can be advantageous if they live far apart. You can choose to impose restrictions on your attorneys, but these may be rejected if they are considered unworkable. The forms need to be signed by a certificate provider – often your doctor – who confirms your capacity to make this decision.
  2. Notify ‘people to be told’ – you must then notify people to be told of the LPAs with a notification form, LP3. After you have informed them, they have three weeks to raise concerns with the OPG, but you do not have to notify anyone if you choose not to.
  3. Submit the forms to the OPG – the forms then need to be submitted and paid for. LPAs cost £82 each in England and Wales, so if you register both types of LPA available, it would cost £164. It can take eight to ten weeks for the LPA to be registered.
  4. Register your LPA – once the OPG has reviewed the forms and confirmed them, they will send back a stamped copy to show that it has been accepted and officially registered. You can then store the LPA in a safe place and obtain copies when banks and other institutions require proof. 

You do not need a solicitor to establish an LPA, but it can be helpful to have help and guidance throughout the process to minimise potential mistakes. The Planning Bee is available to provide expert legal advice on LPAs and to help you through the process of establishing exactly what you need.

Types of LPAs

There are two types of LPAs that you can choose to register:

  • LPA for financial decisions – this LPA covers decisions regarding finances, such as buying or selling property, investing money, paying bills, and paying mortgages. For this LPA, your attorney must keep accounts and ensure that their money is separate from yours, and you can request regular details of how much money is spent and what on.
  • LPA for health and care decisions – this LPA covers decisions around health and welfare, such as your diet, where you live, what activities you do, and your medical care.

You can choose to establish both types of LPAs but will need to submit an application for each. 

Changing an LPA

Generally, after an LPA has been established, it cannot be changed. However, if you are having issues with your attorney, you can raise your concerns with the OPG, which is responsible for monitoring attorneys and investigating mistreatment and fraud. 

As long as you still have mental capacity, you can cancel your LPAs anytime. To do this, you must send the OPG the original Power of Attorney and a revocation deed. 

LPAs are incredibly useful to have in place. Even if you never need to use them, having them established can provide peace of mind, as someone you trust will be able to make decisions for you if you ever lose capacity. Registering and creating an LPA is fairly simple, but if mistakes are made during registration, it can delay the process.

Contact The Planning Bee today for more information on the best way to establish your LPA. Our paralegals have decades of experience in the later life planning field and provide expert advice on LPAs, Wills, and more. 

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