Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

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. 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 make an LPA?
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 Types of LPA are available?
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 family will be unable to deal with your bank or utility providers, making it difficult for them to pay your bills or close your accounts.
Health and Welfare LPA – allows your Attorney to make decisions about things like your daily routine, medical care (including whether you are to be given life sustaining treatment) and where you live. 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 immediately (but with your consent) for certain decisions, 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 decisions for you instead – such as whether to accept medical treatment to keep you alive, or about where you live; and
  • Your family / friends would need to apply for Deputyship if they want to make decisions.

The Process
Setting up an LPA will usually be done over two appointments. The first will be a fact-finding exercise where we will complete a questionnaire (Form B) to give us all the necessary information required. You will then be sent a draft of your LPA. Once approved, a signing appointment will be arranged where you and your Attorneys (if they can attend at the same time) will sign the forms, in the presence of a witness. We will discuss the LPA in detail with you and your Attorneys and answer any questions you may have.

What happens after signing?
Before your form can be used, it must be sent to the OPG to be registered. Registration is optional at this stage, though it must be done before the forms can be used. 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.

Cost
Alexander Legal Services charges £225 per single LPA (£450 for an individual to get both types of LPA).

Registration 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 your income is less than £12,000 per year, we can apply for a fee reduction of 50% on your behalf. A fee remission is also available if you satisfy other criteria, such as being exempt from paying council tax. Proof will need to be sent to the OPG, so please have your Pension Service statement to hand.