An LPA or Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which gives another party certain rights and powers to make decisions on your (the donor‘s) behalf.
There are two kinds of LPA in England & Wales – one which deals with Health and Welfare issues, and one which deals with Property and Financial Affairs. The Health & Welfare LPA deals with the care you receive if you’re ill. It allows someone to look after your daily needs, such as eating, washing and dressing. It also allows (should you wish) your Attorneys to make decisions regarding ‘Life-sustaining treatment’. The Property & Financial Affairs LPA gives your Attorney access to your bank accounts, so that they can pay your bills. They can also make purchasing and investment decisions on your behalf.
Clearly, these powers are significant, and you should choose who you appoint as your Attorney after careful consideration. Often children act as Attorney, although many other options are available. The important thing to remember is that an LPA can only be written when YOU have full mental capacity. We often get phone calls asking us to rush out on an LPA where the donor has lost capacity. Obviously, we aren’t able to help in these circumstances (although see our blog post regarding Dementia and LPA’s) whereas if the powers had been set up previously, lots of hassle could have been saved.
But aren’t they just for people with Dementia?
Dementia / Alzheimer’s are on the increase. It’s a horrible set of conditions which often robs people of their very essence. LPA’s are really useful to have in place when a loved one does develop memory loss conditions. But there are other situations where a Health and Welfare LPA would kick in. You could be considered unable to make decisions for yourself if you were for example, in a coma after an accident. Also, Property and Financial LPA’s can come into force immediately after registration should that be required.
So should I have one?
We’re advocates that everyone should have both LPAs and Wills in place! I think with the advent of the dementia ‘epidemic’, that’s good enough reason to get something in place now. We often write LPA’s for customers who are in their 30’s. Oh, and the alternative to getting an LPA is a bit of a nightmare!
Go on then, what’s the alternative?
Never thought you’d ask! For a loved one to assume LPA style powers after the donor has lost mental capacity, and where an LPA doesn’t exist, they have to make an application to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. The costs and the timescales can at times be prohibitive (approximately £800 including Court Fees, Doctor’s Fees and insurance bond. Add an extra £1000 if you need a solicitor), and the deputy will usually have to keep full accounts and report them back to the Court of Protection at least annually. Oh, and pay an annual fee to them as well.
That LPA sounds a whole load more attractive now!
How much does an LPA cost?
Thoughtful Planning offers Fixed Pricing on LPA’s and Wills. For our current prices, please download our price list