Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are documents that let you choose people to look after your financial and physical well-being if something happens and you are not able to look after yourself whether due to dementia, stroke, accident, or perhaps simply being unable to get out and about. They apply whilst you are alive and are completely separate from your will.
It is important to be aware that in order to make LPAs you need to be able to fully understand the documents you are signing. In other words, if you have already lost mental capacity, it will be too late to make LPAs. In that case, your loved ones may need to make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order, instead.
There are two types of LPA – one to cover your property and financial affairs and one to cover health and care decisions. We recommend preparing both types so that you have everything covered, but you do have the option of preparing just one or the other.
In addition, if you have a business, you may wish to prepare a separate ‘business LPA’ appointing special attorneys who can take over your business interests if the need arises.
Although it is possible to make LPAs yourself or through various budget online providers, please always remember that LPAs are really serious documents. They shouldn’t be entered into lightly or without ensuring that everyone involved has been made aware of their duties and responsibilities.
You will need to carefully consider who you want to appoint as your attorneys. Commonly, our clients appoint members of their family, friends or perhaps a professional adviser. You need to remember that, in a worst-case scenario, your attorneys can end up making decisions about all your financial assets and even matters of life and death; they need to be people that you trust implicitly. We can help you decide who to appoint and on what basis, and will work with everyone involved to ensure the final LPA documents are not only legally binding, but also workable and appropriate in the real world.
LPAs need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used. We recommend immediate registration so the LPAs can be used as soon as they are needed. All our fees include preparation of the registration forms, but there is a separate court fee of £82 to register each LPA. We can advise if you are entitled to a fee reduction based on your income or receipt of certain state benefits.
We are passionate about educating everyone we meet about LPAs and we think they are just as important as your will – possibly even more so as they have the potential to radically enhance your own quality of life. A properly drawn up LPA appointing appropriate, trusted attorneys will ensure your best interests are protected and acted upon, and can help prevent abuse if you become vulnerable. You can read more here in our LPA section of the knowledge centre.