Thinking of making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) without using a Solicitor?
WHY SHOULD YOU MAKE AN LPA?
To allow you the opportunity to decide who you want to manage your affairs should you lose mental capacity. The alternative is for the Court of Protection to make the decision to appoint a Deputy, which could be more costly and time consuming with far more restrictions (look out for next month’s blog for more details).
The all-important question. The easy answer….. is whilst you have capacity! None of us know what is round the corner and it may not be illnesses such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s that is the cause of a lack of capacity, it could also be a stroke or injury/accident. If you know who you would want as your attorneys then make your LPA now and rest assured you are protected should it be required. There is no need to worry about losing control of your affairs now as we can explain why and how you retain full control whilst you have capacity.
HOW AND WHY USE A SOLICITOR?
Solicitors prepare and complete numerous LPAs knowing the pitfalls and areas of concern. Not only are we experienced in completing the forms, we also give advice to you on the process and give you the benefit of our expertise.
There are potential pitfalls to be aware of (including adding unnecessary instructions for example) which could contradict and at worst invalidate the document. Also, by missing a simple ‘tick’ in a box, the application could then default to an instruction you may not have wanted and not be aware of. It may only be brought to attention when the attorneys try to use the LPA, when it may be too late to correct it. This would particularly be a problem if the donor (the person making the LPA) had lost capacity in the meantime.
Not completing the necessary continuation pages, to confirm and give extra instructions where needed, could again trigger the dreaded default instruction. Dates that are out of chronological order, or even not dating at all, will invalidate the application.
Instructions about how your attorneys should act and how and when your replacement attorneys can act should also be given serious consideration, as a mistake here could invalidate the whole document unnecessarily
Many people tend to delay the decision to make an LPA, as they do not anticipate when it may be needed. Unfortunately, if problems occur and additional information is required or re-applications needed, it means a time delay when the document is needed to be used, as well as unexpected expense at that time.
If a donor loses capacity before the document is finalised, and is unable to complete the LPA properly, family members are then left with considering the Deputyship route where the Court will make the final decision as to who can look after the donor. This is a more expensive and time consuming option, which is also subject to more regulation and the need for annual reports to be submitted the Office of the Public Guardian. Our next blog will focus on Deputyship, and give more information about what is required.
An LPA is a powerful document that enables family members or friends to support you when you need it most - why risk it failing, when it can be dealt with by your Solicitor in a friendly, informative and professional manner.