A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is an important legal document that should be a vital part of everyone’s estate planning.
Considered by financial expert Martin Lewis as “more important than a Will”, LPAs help individuals of all ages and backgrounds safeguard their futures by appointing someone they trust to make certain decisions for them should they lose the capacity to make those decisions themselves.
Mental capacity can be lost for various reasons on both a short- and long-term basis.
Suffering from mental health problems or being involved in an accident that renders you unconscious can result in the need for someone to act on your behalf temporarily, while a severe brain injury or being diagnosed with dementia can mean you lose capacity permanently.
In this blog, our Lasting Powers of Attorney solicitors consider the importance of an LPA and answer some frequently asked questions.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An LPA allows someone (an ‘attorney’) to make decisions for you if you’re no longer able to.
There are two main types of LPA:
- Property and financial affairs. This gives an attorney the power to make decisions about your property and finances, including paying bills, selling your home, collecting a pension, or managing a bank or building society account.
- Health and welfare. This LPA enables an attorney to make decisions involving your health and welfare, such as about your medical care, moving into a care home and your daily routine.
Who can make an LPA?
Anyone over the age of 18 who has mental capacity can make an LPA.
How do I make an LPA?
To make an LPA, you must get the relevant documentation from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
Forms can be completed online and must be printed off to be signed and witnessed by the relevant people, before being returned to the OPG for registration.
Although it is possible to set up an LPA yourself, the process is complicated, and it is easy to make mistakes. Errors can lead to forms being rejected by the OPG or result in an invalid LPA when you try to use it.
However, there are concerns that the proposed digital system will be difficult to use and alienate the most vulnerable. Many legal professionals also fear that the new system will increase the potential for fraud and have stressed the need for more stringent testing before the initiative is launched.
Do I need to use a solicitor to make an LPA?
Financial expert and consumer champion Martin Lewis recommends using a solicitor to make an LPA. “The best way, if you can, is to get a solicitor to do it,” he said in a recent episode of the ITV programme, The Martin Lewis Money Show.
A solicitor can help in several ways, including:
- Help you avoid mistakes. Private client solicitors draw on their extensive experience to ensure no mistakes are made when completing the documentation. Common errors can include signing the forms in the wrong order, mixing pages, and including unlawful requests.
- Part of wider estate planning. An LPA is not a one-size-fits-all, and a solicitor can advise whether you need any other legal documents to protect your assets, interests and loved ones.
- Provides peace of mind. Specialist LPA solicitors will ensure LPAs are completed correctly, quickly, and securely to comply with all relevant laws and give you valuable peace of mind. Solicitors are also regulated, which adds an extra layer of protection in the unlikely event anything goes wrong.
When looking for a solicitor to help make your LPA, make sure you do your homework and choose a firm of solicitors with a good reputation. Get recommendations from friends, research solicitors online, and ensure the firm you choose is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Attempts to cut corners or save money in the short term by choosing an unregulated or unreputable professional can have severe consequences.
Our history at Bookers & Bolton dates back to 1893. There is security in our past, and we act for many clients whose grandparents were advised by us.
We have built a reputation for quality and reliability in Hampshire and the south of England and are committed to maintaining and building on that reputation.
To speak to one of our trusted LPA solicitors, please call 01420 558 290 or email email@example.com.
Who should I appoint as my attorney?
An attorney should be someone you trust. This can be a family member, a friend, or a professional, such as a lawyer or solicitor.
You can appoint a single attorney or several attorneys. If you appoint more than one attorney, you must specify whether they should act:
- Jointly and severally.
- Jointly for some decisions and jointly and severally for other decisions.
Attorneys who are appointed to act jointly must always act together. If one attorney does not agree with a proposed action, that decision cannot be made.
You can appoint a replacement attorney if one of your appointed attorneys cannot fulfil that role permanently.
Can I change an LPA?
If you have registered an LPA with the OPG and wish to change it, depending on the circumstances, you must either:
- Revoke it and make a new one by sending a ‘deed of revocation’ to the OPG.
- Amend it by submitting a partial deed of revocation to the OPG.
Only donors can amend or revoke their LPA.
How much does it cost to make an LPA?
A fee of £82 is charged by the OPG for each application to register an LPA, although individuals on certain benefits are exempt from fees.
Solicitors’ fees are additional.
For more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney, click here to read our free client guide.
Lasting Powers of Attorney Solicitors Alton
Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney can be complex. Although various online options offer DIY services, seeking specialist legal advice is advisable to avoid making errors in drafting the forms.
At Bookers & Bolton, our Lasting Powers of Attorney lawyers in Alton, Hampshire, will guide you through the process practically and compassionately. We can help by drawing up Lasting Powers of Attorneys on your behalf or by completing the entire registration process.
Find out more about Bookers & Bolton’s Powers of Attorney services by clicking here.
Get in Touch
If you would like further information or advice regarding our Lasting Power of Attorney services, please get in touch with us on 01420 82881, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or make an online enquiry here.