Yes, your power of attorney lawyer can act for you if you choose.
Power of Attorney Solicitors
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document in which you name someone to make decisions on your behalf in case there is a time when you are unable to do so. Our power of attorney solicitors can advise you about all aspects of creating an LPA, so you can decide what is right for you.
To find out how we can help, please call our friendly team on 08082747557. or fill in our contact form.
Why you should consider a lasting power of attorney
Everybody has the right to make their own decisions, but an accident or illness can leave people unable to do so. If you lose mental capacity, having a lasting power of attorney means someone you trust has the legal power and can make decisions for you.
Losing mental capacity can happen at any age, but the risk increases as we get older. It is estimated that by 2025 more than a million people will be living with dementia. Having an LPA is an important safeguard, and it brings considerable peace of mind.
Many people believe if they lose mental capacity, their next of kin will be able to make decisions for them, but this is not the case. Without an LPA, your next of kin or family members must apply to the Court of Protection for the right to make decisions on your behalf.
Applying to the Court of Protection can be costly and time-consuming. Decisions that need to be made immediately, for example, those relating to bills or healthcare, may be delayed as a result.
Our lasting power of attorney lawyers can help you protect your future with an LPA and advise you about inheritance and tax planning.
Different types of power of attorney
There are three types of power of attorney:
Ordinary power of attorney
This is a temporary power of attorney. It allows someone you choose to make financial decisions for you in the short term. This might be because you are out of the country, staying in a hospital, or cannot leave the house, for example.
An ordinary power of attorney is only valid when you have mental capacity.
Lasting power of attorney (LPA)
Unlike an ordinary power of attorney, an LPA has no expiry. There are two types of LPA:
- Health and welfare LPA
- Property and financial affairs LPA
You might decide to have just one type of LPA or both. You can appoint the same attorney for both LPAs or different attorneys.
Enduring power of attorney (EPA)
Enduring power of attorney was replaced by the lasting power of attorney in 2007. However, if you have an EPA, it is still valid.
Lasting power of attorney options
Property and financial affairs LPA
This LPA gives your attorney the legal authority to make key decisions regarding your financial circumstances and manage everything from paying your bills to selling your property to paying for care home fees. You can give your attorney as much or as little power as you like.
You can choose more than one attorney if you wish. You can give your attorneys the power to make decisions ‘jointly and severally’ or individually. For practical reasons, you might allow your attorneys to make small financial decisions by themselves (such as paying bills). However, you might decide that when it comes to large decisions, like selling property or shares, they must both agree.
A property and financial affairs LPA can come into effect at any time, with your permission. Alternatively, you can decide that it can only come into effect if you lose mental capacity.
Health & Welfare LPA
A health and welfare LPA permits your attorney to make health and care decisions relating to your day-to-day life. They may decide everything from what you eat to the medical treatment you receive.
Like a property and financial affairs LPA, you can give them as much or as little power as you choose. You can also set out your wishes in advance, such as what you want to happen regarding life-sustaining treatment.
Unlike property and financial affairs LPA, a health and welfare LPA can only come into effect with lost mental capacity.
When is an LPA legally valid?
An LPA is only legally valid if it is made while you have mental capacity and you created it of your own free will.
An LPA must also be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to be legally valid.
What is mental capacity?
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is clear that someone ‘must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity.’ Under the mental capacity act, people lack mental capacity if they cannot retain and process information to make decisions.
Anyone can carry out a mental capacity assessment to check the mental capacity of a loved one. However, it is best that an assessment is conducted by a medical professional; otherwise, it could be challenged.
Are there safeguards so an attorney cannot abuse their power?
It is very important that your attorney is someone you have known for a long time and you trust implicitly. For example, you will want to choose someone who can manage their own finances well to be your property and financial affairs attorney.
There are legal safeguards that also protect you when you make an LPA.
Your LPA must be countersigned by a certificate provider who will verify you are of sound mental capacity and that you have made the LPA of your free will. A certificate provider must not be your attorney, and they can be a professional, such as a power of attorney lawyer.
In addition, you can name other people who must be notified before your LPA is registered with the OPG. If these people are concerned, they can raise objections.
How do I set up a lasting power of attorney?
Our lasting power of attorney solicitors can help you set up an LPA by:
- Explaining the different types of power of attorney so you can decide what is best for you.
- Explaining the role of an attorney so you can choose the most appropriate attorney(s).
- Making sure your LPA protects you in all circumstances by helping you explore a range of possible future scenarios.
- Tailoring your LPA to your individual requirements, so it fully protects your interests.
- Acting as a certificate provider to certify that:
- you are of sound mental capacity, and
- you have made the LPA of your free will
- Thoroughly checking your LPA to make sure there are no errors. Once an LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), it is costly and time-consuming to change.
- Registering your LPA with the OPG.
How much do the power of attorney solicitors cost?
Legal fees depend on your individual requirements and how much detailed advice you require. The cost also varies between solicitors.
At QualitySolicitors, we are transparent about our charges, and we have a ‘no hidden costs promise. You will know the fee before we start work for you, so there are no nasty surprises.
For a cost estimate, please call our power of attorney solicitors on 08082747557.
How QualitySolicitors can help you?
Our lasting power of attorney lawyers are highly experienced and can offer you expert legal advice tailored to your circumstances.
We can help you with all aspects of creating an LPA, including helping you decide which power of attorney is best for you, advising you about an attorney’s responsibilities, and drafting an LPA that fully protects your interests.
For advice from our specialist power of attorney solicitors, please call us today on 08082747557.
All QualitySolicitors partner firms are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.
How much does it cost to register a power of attorney in the UK?
The fee for registering an LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian is £82. If you would like a property & finance LPA and a health & welfare LPA, the total cost is £164.
What happens if my attorney cannot act on my behalf?
You can name a replacement attorney (or attorneys) on your LPA in case an attorney cannot act for you when the time comes.
There are many reasons why attorneys cannot carry out their roles, including illness or a change in personal circumstances.
How long does it take to get a power of attorney?
Once a power of attorney is submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian, it may be 20 weeks before it is registered.
An LPA is not valid until it is registered with the OPG, so our lasting power of attorney lawyers act efficiently to expedite the process.