How do I set up a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Any legal process can be daunting and it can often put us off actually following through with it. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is one of the most important legal documents we can have.

It ensures that if ever the time comes where we cannot make our own decisions. We have someone that we trust who can step in and make those decisions for us.

How do you go about setting one up though? 

If you are unsure as to how to make your power of attorney then it is advised to contact your Solicitor. They will be able to obtain the forms for you and take you through them step by step to ensure that they are completed correctly and ready for use should the time come.

What is a lasting power of attorney? 

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document. Where yourself, the Donor, appoint one or more people to act as your attorney(s).

This gives them the power to make decisions on your behalf.

There are two types of power of attorney

Health & Welfare

This allows your attorneys to make decisions regarding your health and medical needs.

This type of LPA will only come into effect if you lose mental capacity.

Your attorneys will be able to decide

  • Where you live. 
  • Your daily routine. Such as washing, eating and dressing. 
  • Your social activities. 
  • What medical treatment you receive. 
  • Where you receive your medical treatment. 
  • Your end of life care
  • They can also make decisions regarding any life sustaining treatment. 

Property and Finance

A property and finance LPA differs from a health and welfare one. In the fact that it can be used before you lose mental capacity.

For example, you may need to spend some time in hospital and need someone to handle your finances whilst you are away.

It allows your attorney to

  • Access your bank accounts. Including your savings accounts. 
  • Pay your bills. Including your mortgage
  • Buy and sell your investments. 
  • Arrange repairs to any properties you own. 
  • Buy and sell your properties. 

Choosing your attorney(s)

You can choose just one attorney or several. You may also have the same attorneys for both LPA’s or different ones for each.

If you do decide to have more than one. You will have to decide how you wish for them to work. They can either make decisions on their own, known as severally. Or you may wish for them to make all decisions jointly. 

When choosing your attorney(s) it is important to choose people who you trust.

They must be over the age of eighteen and can be a spouse, family member or close friend.

You may also choose a professional such as your Solicitor or Accountant.

It can be beneficial to have a conversation with them beforehand. So that you can set out your wishes and what you would like taken into account when they are making decisions. 

How do I make a power of attorney? 

Although you can make a lasting power of attorney without a Solicitor. It is advised to at least have one check over the paperwork before you submit it.

For your LPA to be registered it must be completed in the correct order and signed by the relevant people.

A solicitor will be able to pick up on any mistakes and save you from any delays. 

Your LPA must be signed by

  1. Yourself
  2. Your witness
  3. The certificate provider
  4. Your attorney(s)

Although you do not all have to do this at the same time. It can be helpful if you can arrange a time for you all to meet. Not only does this save time, but it also means that there is less chance of errors. 

Making your LPA

You can obtain the forms from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)

  1. You must sign the paperwork first. If you are agreeing to your attorney(s) making decisions regarding life sustaining treatment. Then you must sign section five first. If not then go straight to signing section 9. This is you forming an agreement with your attorney(s)

NOTE: If you are unable to sign then you must make a mark. If this is not possible then you may have someone sign on your behalf but you must be present at the time. This will then need to be witnessed by two people who are not your attorneys or replacement attorneys. 

  1. The witness must sign next. This person must be over the age of 18 years old. They can be a spouse, a family member or a friend. 
  1. The certificate provider will then sign section 10 – This is them confirming that you have full mental capacity and that you understand the decisions you are making and their consequences. They are also confirming that all of these decisions are your own. 

The certificate provider must be

  • Over the age of eighteen 
  • Someone you have known for over two years that is not a family member 

OR

  • A professional such as a Doctor or Solicitor. 
  • They must not your business partner or employee of either yourself or your attorney(s)
  • They must not be the manager of a care home where either you or a family member resides. 
  1. The attorney(s) will then sign section 11. This is them forming an agreement with yourself. Their signatures will also need to be witnessed, but different attorneys may be a witness for each other. Although you cannot be their witness and vice versa. 

Once all of your forms are completed these must be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian.

You should also send a “form to notify people LP3” to anyone you wish to notify of your LPA. Such as family members or close friends. They will then have three weeks to raise any objections. 

Are there any fees to pay?

There is a fee of £82 to register your LPA. If you are registering both a health and welfare LPA and a finance and property LPA you will need to pay this twice. 

If there are no mistakes or objections then it will take roughly 9 to 10 weeks for your registration to be completed.

Upon completion you will receive a copy of your LPA for safe keeping. If the OPG does pick up on any mistakes they may let you correct these and resubmit them within three months for a further cost of £41. 

Once you receive your forms back these are legally ready to be used as and when you need them. 

If you are unsure as to how to make your power of attorney then it is advised to contact your Solicitor. They will be able to obtain the forms for you and take you through them step by step to ensure that they are completed correctly and ready for use should the time come. 

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