What is an LPA?
An LPA is a legal document which appoints another person(s) to make decisions on your behalf. These people are known as your attorneys.
Who can you choose to make decisions for you?
You can have one attorney or several and they can be anyone you wish, though family or close friends are often the best people.
Why do you need an LPA?
Many of us would like to plan for a time when we need help making decisions. A stroke, heart attack, Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia or a severe accident can leave us dependent upon other people to help make decisions in our lives. Shockingly the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) estimate that a person is admitted to hospital every 90 seconds with a brain injury.
What are the types of LPA?
There are two types of LPA available: one which deals with your Property and Financial affairs and another which deals with your Health and Welfare affairs:
Property and Financial LPA
A Property and Financial LPA allows your attorney to look after your bank accounts, make/sell investments, pay your bills and buy/sell/maintain your property. They can also make gifts on your behalf. Without this type of LPA; your attorneys will be unable to deal with your bank or utility providers, making it difficult for them to pay your bills or close your accounts if you no longer need them.
Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about things like your daily routine, medical care and where you live. They can also make decisions regarding your healthcare and whether you are to be given life sustaining treatment. This type of LPA is important if you wish to leave specific instructions regarding your healthcare and issues such as whether you will be kept in a care home.
When does the LPA take effect?
You can create an LPA to be used only if you can no longer make your own decisions – known as losing ‘mental capacity’. Or you can make an LPA to be used for certain decisions – such as financial ones – while you still have mental capacity but may need extra help.
What could happen if I don’t create an LPA?
If you lose mental capacity and haven’t created an LPA:
You’ll no longer be able to decide who makes decisions for you (you can only make your LPA while you still have mental capacity);
People you don’t know could end up making crucial decisions for you instead – such as whether to accept medical treatment to keep you alive, or about what you eat and wear and where you live;
Your family or friends might have to go to court to make decisions on your behalf – which can be a lot more expensive and time-consuming than making an LPA.
What is the Process?
Setting up an LPA is relatively straightforward and will usually be done over two appointments. The first appointment will be a fact-finding exercise where we will complete a questionnaire (Form B) to give us all the necessary information required for drafting your LPA. You will then be sent a draft of your LPA. Once approved, a signing appointment will be arranged.
During the signing appointment, you and your attorneys (if they can attend at the same time) will sign the forms, which will also need to be witnessed. We will discuss the LPA in detail with you and your attorneys and answer any questions you may have. We will also provide detailed guides for your attorneys on their duties under each type of LPA.
What needs to happen before the form can be used?
Before your form can be used, it must be sent to the OPG to be registered. Registration of the forms is optional at this stage, though it must be done at some point, it can wait until you are ready and can be done months, or even years, after the forms have been signed. Many clients prefer the peace of mind of knowing the forms are ready to be used as soon as they are needed, as the registration process usually takes around 10-12 weeks.
In addition to our fees, the OPG charge £82 to register each form, meaning it may cost up to £164 for an individual to register both types of LPA. However, if yous income is less than £12,000 per year, we can apply for a fee reduction of up to 50% on your behalf. A fee remission is also available if you satisfy other criteria, such as being exempt from paying council tax. Evidence of your eligibility will need to be sent to the OPG, so please have pension statements and confirmation from your Local Authority to hand.
Contact us today for a no obligation appointment to discuss an LPA.