A reminder that as we age the argument that we should grant powers of attorney to trusted family members becomes increasingly relevant. A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. There are two sorts of LPA. They can cover personal issues (health and welfare) or financial issues (property and financial affairs).
An LPA allows you to nominate who has control over what happens to you if, for example, you have an accident or an illness and can’t make decisions at the time, or if you for other reasons, ‘lack mental capacity’ to make prudent decisions on your own behalf.
You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your LPA. This is a classic “chicken and egg” process: if you wait until you are no longer compos mentis, or physically able to make decisions on your behalf, it is already too late.
Please note that there are different processes for registering LPAs in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
How do you make an LPA?
This is a three-stage process:
First, you must choose your attorney – the person who will have control over your affairs – and you can have more than one.
Secondly, you will need to complete the relevant forms to appoint them as an attorney, and finally
Register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (this can take up to 10 weeks).
It costs £110 to register an LPA unless you get a reduction or exemption.
Unfortunately, you will need to register both LPAs if you want to cover all your risks, so the above costs are doubled.
If you want to find out more about the process you can contact the Office of the Public Guardian at:
Office of the Public Guardian
Telephone: 0300 456 0300
Textphone: 0115 934 2778
Or, you can take professional advice.