Q: I have been advised to sign a ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ but I don’t know whether I need to. What is the document and how does it work?
Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPAs”) are often completed and signed at the same time as your Will is drafted or updated.
LPAs are legal documents which allow you to appoint nominated people to act on your behalf, making decisions or dealing with your affairs, in the event that you are unable to do so yourself without assistance. You are known as the ‘donor’ in the document, and your nominated persons are ‘attorneys’. Many people choose to appoint friend or family members (often adult children), or occasionally a trusted professional such as a solicitor.
The LPA will be used in the event that you are unable to deal with affairs and make decisions yourself; for example, you may have an illness or accident. At this point, you are referred to as ‘lacking mental capacity’.
There are two types of LPA, and you may choose to complete either or both of these:
This LPA allows your nominated attorneys to make decisions about matters such as your daily routine (including washing, dressing and eating), your medical care, life-sustaining treatment and the process of moving into a care home. The Health & Welfare LPA can only be used when you are unable to make your own decisions.
- Property and Financial Affairs
Dealing with money and property issues, under this LPA you appoint your attorney to manage a bank or building society account, pay bills, collect benefits or pension or deal with the sale of your home. The Property & Financial Affairs LPA can be used by your nominated attorneys as soon as it is registered, provided that you give your permission.
When should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
You must be over 18 and have full mental capacity at the time of signing your Lasting Power of Attorney. You should be able to make your own decisions, to be aware of the document’s effect and to sign it at the time you complete the document.
Who should my attorneys be?
You may choose one or more attorneys. If you choose to appoint more than one, you will need to decide whether they must make decisions jointly (so all decisions must be agreed by all attorneys) or whether they can act separately (attorneys can act together or on their own).
Attorneys must be over 18 and they must be able to make their own decisions (having ‘full mental capacity’). You should consider how well your attorneys look after their own affairs, how well you know them and whether you trust them to make decisions in your best interests. Attorneys must be willing to act on your behalf
How do I make sure that the Lasting Power of Attorney is properly completed?
We always recommend that you use a local solicitor to prepare both your Will and your LPA. They can advise as to the contents of each and ensure that they are satisfactorily signed, dated and safely stored.
LPAs need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian after they have been completed. The process takes around 8-10 weeks and the registration fee is £110 per LPA (there are some exemptions and reductions available if you are on a low income), with legal fees charged in addition to this; you can choose to notify people that you have put an LPA into place, and notifications will be distributed after you have applied for registration.
Can I change my LPA once it’s been registered?
Yes, provided that you still have full mental capacity to make your own decisions. You are able to make changes to your LPA by using a ‘Partial Deed of Revocation’, or to withdraw it completely by way of a ‘Deed of Revocation’.
Your LPA will come to an end automatically if your nominated attorney dies, loses their own mental capacity, divorces from you (if you have nominated your husband or wife) or if your attorney is removed by the Court of Protection. Bankrupt persons or those subject to a ‘Debt Relief Order’ cannot act as attorneys under a Property and Financial Affairs LPA.
McCarthy Bennett Holland’s Paul Aynsley can advise on your Will and Lasting Power of Attorney, ensuring that both are up-to-date and meet the needs of you and your family.
If you would like to discuss your future planning, contact McCarthy Bennett Holland to make an appointment with Paul on 01942 206060.
McCarthy Bennett Holland, established in Wigan since 1971, offers a personal service across a wide range of legal practice areas, including residential and commercial property, family and matrimonial, wills and probate, employment, personal injury and company commercial.
Contact Paul Aynsley, partner at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your Wills, Trusts, Probate or other legal requirements in confidence at:
Tel: 01942 206060
Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD