As we grow older, the risk of developing medical conditions such as dementia and other long-term illnesses increases considerably. We can also suffer accidents that can cause damage to our brain. These scenarios can reduce our mental capacity. Under such conditions, we might not be able to make sound decisions. This is where the lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA (LPA) comes into play.
An LPA is a legal document that allows you (the donor) to appoint at least one person (the attorney) to either help you make decisions or make decisions on your behalf. There are numerous articles online that discuss LPA, but they may not provide all of the information you need.
As a parent of young children with a limited income, investing in an LPA might seem to be a waste of time if you have made a will or EPA. However, these terms are completely different. This is why we have created a comprehensive lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA guide, which will help you understand everything about LPA.
Lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA: An Overview
An LPA is a legal document in which a person with sound mental capacity nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after the person’s affairs if they are physically or mentally unable to make decisions. If you are over the age of 18 and are of sound mind, you can complete the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA form and secure your future by choosing a person who will make crucial decisions about your treatment and finances on your behalf.
While there is no age concern for Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA, it is recommended that you prepare this document early on, especially if you have a young family. If you are affected because of an illness or accident, your spouse may not be in the right state to make important decisions about things such as medical procedures or paying your bills.
This document safeguards decisions about your health and care or financial affairs by enabling your attorney to take control. You can appoint multiple attorneys and you can decide whether they should act jointly, take individual decisions, or both. Such decisions are helpful if you are in a coma due to an accident or disease, are suffering from dementia, or have a disease or illness that affects your decision-making power. The bright side is that once you are capable of thinking again, the LAP ends. You can also choose whether the LAP can be exercised before or only after you lose your mental capacity.
An EPA is a system that allows the attorney to make financial and property decisions only if the person is not able to make those decisions themselves. After the introduction of the LPA in 2007, EPAs were no longer used. However, people who had made EPAs before 2007 can still benefit from them. Wills are documents that cite how you want your estate to be distributed when you die. The most significant difference between wills and LPAs is that, with a will, your executor will act as per your decision and wishes, but with an LPA, the decision-making power lies with the assigned attorney.
Types Of LPA
There are two types of LPA:
- Health and Welfare Lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA – This type of LPA gives the attorney the power to make decisions regarding your daily routine, including eating, dressing, washing, medical care, life-sustaining medical treatment, and moving into a care home when you cannot make such decisions on your own. They decide everything regarding your health and welfare, which can be the opposite of what you actually want for yourself. So, on the form, you can clearly state your intention, but your attorney doesn’t need to act on your wishes.
- Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA – Lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA property and financial affairs covers decisions about your property and finance. You might not be able to manage your finances in the future and this is when your attorney will step in. The attorney will make decisions about paying your bills, selling your house, or collecting your benefits and income. However, you can limit the decisions your attorney can make or state certain conditions about what they can do.
If you want, you can appoint the same attorney for both of these purposes. However, choosing two different people is recommended because one person may not have complete knowledge about a particular sector. Your friend working as a doctor would make better health and welfare decisions while your accountant brother would be able to make wise financial decisions. Moreover, a single person would not abuse power given by an LPA.
Misconceptions About Lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA
Millions of UK citizens do not prepare an LPA, even though the creation of such a document is crucial. This lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA guide will debunk some myths about LPAs.
- They are only for the elderly – It is true that elderly people are more likely to lose their mental capacity from illnesses, but life is uncertain. Younger people must not ignore the importance of an LPA. You might have an accident and remain unconscious for over a month. If you do not have an LPA, your heartbroken spouse and young children may have to make tough decisions about your health and finances. Seeing you lying on a bed with several wounds might affect their decision-making power. Moreover, your family may have to seek relevant orders from the Court of Protection to perform specific actions. Creating an LPA will make sure a strong and trustworthy person is legally authorised to make the right decisions for you.
- It is for someone with dementia – Many people believe that forming this special Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA is essential only for people with dementia. If you have had a family history of such medical conditions, you must create an LPA. You can never predict your future. If you work in a risky job such as construction or firefighting, for example, you might become the victim of a life-changing accident, which could affect your ability to make sound decisions. So, everyone should make an LPA, irrespective of their age and profession.
- Someone with a will does not need to create an LPA – A will is a legal document that allows the chosen executors to function only after the person has died. However, an LPA allows attorneys to exercise control only when the person becomes incapacitated. The rights of the attorneys cease with the demise of the person. Therefore, you should have a will as well as an LPA.
- Only family members can be the attorney – This is not true. Your attorney can be anyone in whom you trust, and this includes friends, colleagues, or professionals such as a solicitor. Your attorney can even be your distant cousin. The person does not have to be a British citizen or live in the UK. When choosing someone, you must consider how well they maintain their own affairs, how well you know them, whether you trust them to make decisions in your best interest, and whether they would be happy to act as your attorney. It is important to make sure that they have never been bankrupt.
- Someone has a joint bank account with his/her spouse – You may have a joint bank account with your partner or spouse, but they cannot automatically take control of your affairs if you lose your mental capacity. The law is designed in such a way that it protects vulnerable people from financial abuse and fraud. However, although it stops people from misusing the reduced capacity of a vulnerable person, it also stops genuine people from making the right financial decisions for that person.
What Will Happen If You Don’t Have A Lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA?
If you have a pension, property, investments and/or a bank account, and you want them to be managed by someone you trust, it is important to create an LPA. Your attorneys will exercise their legal power and make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf. In the absence of the person to apply to the Court of Protection to gain legal permission to be assigned as your Deputy. However, this will happen when you have already lost your mental capacity and can no longer express who you want your Deputy to be. Moreover, you would not have any say in the scope of power the Court will grant to the attorney.
Anyone above 18 years with considerable financial skills can apply to be your Deputy, and if nobody objects to their application, they can become your Deputy. However, the Court will decide whether the person applying to be your Deputy is suitable enough for the role. Dealing with someone’s finances is not child’s play, which is why the Court will be extremely careful regarding who they appoint. Although your best interests would be continually considered, your loved one may have to undergo a lot of pressure.
Once a Deputy has been assigned by the court, their decisions regarding the lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA property and financial affairs and healthcare cannot be challenged by other family members. Moreover, this process is a lot more expensive than when creating an LPA. In addition, the family will also have to bear the annual supervision fees of the Deputy. This is why we recommend that you create an LPA. Our experienced professionals will guide you through the Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA process and help you make the right steps.
Lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA Cost
Once you fulfil the requisites, you can apply for an LPA. The cost of the lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA can be split into two parts:
- The Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA form costs £82 for one type of LPA
- Solicitor or attorney specialist fees start from £250
If you want to assign solicitors for both types, i.e. for health and welfare, and for financial and property affairs, you will have to pay £164. For making amendments and requesting repeat applications, you will have to pay once again; however, the fee would be reduced by half at £41. With every revision of the LPA documents, you will have to bear extra fees. So, you must talk to our experts before submitting your LPA application to the Office of Public Guardian.
Creating an LPA the correct way is crucial so that your loved ones do not have to undergo any legal processes when you become incapacitated. A poorly formed LPA will not be registered and, when the time comes, it can be deemed invalid. When you create an LPA, it isn’t registered for six weeks; this is so that anyone can present their objections against it. In such a case, you will also have to bear additional costs.
The cost of forming an LPA is significantly lower than applying for Deputyship. The latter involves an application fee of £365. If a person is applying for both types of affairs, they will have to pay the fee twice. Then, if the court decides on a hearing, they will be required to pay another £485. Moreover, your family will also have to bear an annual supervision fee of more than £300.
The lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA is an essential legal document; if you have created a will or EPA, you still must not ignore it. It allows people of your choice to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf when your physical or mental health does not allow you to do so. People generally believe that LPAs are suitable for people who have dementia or are elderly, but everyone should create this legal document. In the absence of an LPA, your loved ones will have to apply for Deputyship, which is a highly time-consuming and complex procedure. Our executives, with years of experience, will help you make an LPA so your family does not have to suffer while obtaining their rights if or when you are unwell. Their knowledge and expertise will make sure you create a suitable LPA in one go. So, please contact us as soon as possible and take a step towards securing your future.