A Lasting Power of Attorney is an important document giving someone the authority to deal with your affairs, should you ever become unable to do so yourself.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA):
- Property and financial affairs
- Health and welfare
If you make a property and financial affairs LPA, you can register it for use at any time, should you wish to, so that your attorney can help you even if you still have the capacity to manage yourself. This can be useful if you want assistance, for example, by getting your attorney to go to the bank on your behalf.
A health and welfare LPA can only be used once someone has lost the ability to deal with their own affairs.
You will need to decide whom you would like to act on your behalf, should it ever be necessary. You can choose one or more attorneys and give them consent to act independently or require them to act together. It is generally easier if attorneys are able to act independently.
You should choose people whom you trust implicitly, and ideally who are younger than you, otherwise there is a risk that they may not be able to help you when the time comes.
Making the application
You can make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) online or using paper forms. You will need to have them signed by someone who is able to certify that you have the mental capacity to understand what you are signing.
You and your attorneys will also need to sign and you should list the names of people whom you wish to be told that you are intending to register an LPA. These people must be sent a form of notification. You don’t have to tell anybody if you don’t want to but you can choose up to five people to be told. This is a safeguard to ensure that you are not being unduly influenced into signing the LPA.
Registering the LPA
The LPA forms can then be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration. They will register the forms and send you a stamped copy for your records. The LPA is only valid once it has been stamped.
Once this has been done, you can store your LPA until it is needed. It could be placed with your own important papers or passed to your attorney for safekeeping. Alternatively, you can ask your professional adviser to store it.
It is not essential to register the LPA as soon as it has been signed, however if you do register it, it will be ready for use as soon as it is needed. Otherwise, there could be a delay while your attorney waits for the Office of the Public Guardian to process the forms, which could take three months or more.
It also means that any errors on the form can be dealt with in advance of the time when the LPA is needed. If errors arise after the person making the LPA has lost capacity, then potentially they may be without an LPA if the errors mean that it is invalid.
Advance registration also gives relatives or friends of the person making the LPA the opportunity to raise any objections and to have discussions with the donor to try and avoid disputes arising.
For expert advice and assistance please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting or a call-back.