How to set up Lasting Powers of Attorney
Paul Mounce, 11th March, 2019
With dementia and Alzheimer's disease overtaking heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales, we all have to face up to the fact that one day, we may not be able to manage our own affairs due to declining mental capacity, illness or injury.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are legal agreements which allow close family members or trusted third parties to act on someone else’s best interests should they need to.
In 2017/18, LPA and EPA applications increased by 18.9%, with 770,995 new powers of attorney (PoA) received - an increase of 122,677 on the previous year.
Unsurprisingly, the most common age group applying for a LPA’s are those aged between 81–90 years old, with those aged 71–80 not far behind.
Our Wills, Trusts & Powers of Attorney department provide help and advice to families with elderly relatives and can set up LPA agreements.
This can be done before and after individuals take up residence in a care home, and will help plan for future legal requirements before any financial or medical emergency happens.
What is an LPA?
LPAs are legal documents that allow a person or ‘donor’ to nominate and choose any number of trusted people to be their ‘attorneys’.
There are two types of LPAs: one covers the donor’s financial decisions, the other covers their health and care.
They can be used if the donor can no longer make, or wants to make, those decisions for themselves.
How do I set up an LPA?
To set up an LPA, the donor must have capacity.
However, all is not lost if your family member has been diagnosed with early onset dementia or Alzheimer’s as they could still enter into one.
It’s likely that a doctor will need to confirm the donor is fully aware of the situation and what they’re agreeing to.
Once signed, the LPA must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to become legally binding.
This can take up to 10 weeks and the current court fee as it stands today is £82 per document.
My LPA is unregistered – is it still legally binding?
If an LPA has not been registered, it can’t be relied on, and any mistakes made in the application form will need to be rectified while the donor still has capacity.
The LPA can only be used by the attorneys from the date of registration by the OPG. Having both LPAs registered and in place doesn’t mean that control of health and care, or property and financial decisions, are taken away immediately.
If your relative continues to have the ability to retain control over all of their affairs, they will do so until they no longer can or wish to.
For the financial decisions, LPAs attorneys can in certain circumstances assist the donor even if they do have capacity. While the health and care LPA can only be used once the donor has lost capacity.
Need advice? Get in touch today
If you have a family member, even one who is in a care home or is thinking of going into a care home, we can prepare your LPA and register it with the OPG.
We offer appointments at our office, in your own home, care home or hospital at a time to suit you.
We can also check and register your LPA even if we have not prepared the form for you.