A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document made by an individual (the donor) to appoint someone (an attorney) to look after the donor's affairs. The main benefit of the LPA is that it continues to be effective when the donor loses mental capacity.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
The importance of the document relates to the fact that you, the individual, decides who looks after your affairs and not the Court of Protection if you become mentally incapable without one in place. The Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which puts control of your affairs into the hands of the individuals of your choice. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney - one which deals with your property and financial affairs and one which deals with health and welfare issues. The cost of setting up one is small compared to the costs that are incurred if the Court of Protection is involved.
Why do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Without an LPA if you lose the mental capacity to deal with your affairs the Court of Protection have the right to deal with your affairs. Your relatives can apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed deputies but the application can cost several thousand pounds, is not a guaranteed success and if successful involves returning to the Court of Protection each year to account for the conduct of your affairs. With an LPA you appoint a person(s) of your choice to deal with your affairs and there is no involvement of the Court of Protection.
Who needs a Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Anyone who wishes to ensure their affairs are dealt with by family members should have an LPA.
When does the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) become active?
The LPA only becomes active if you are living and no longer able to carry out your own affairs. You can complete an LPA now but the document only becomes active when registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. You do not need capacity to register it at the Office of the Public Guardian only capacity when the document is completed. You can hold onto the document only to be used in the event that you are no longer able to carry out your own affairs.
What is the cost of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Perhaps the more significant question is "what is the cost if I don't have a LPA?" to which the answer could be that all of your estate is controlled and executed by the Court of Protection whose costs will run into tens of thousands of pounds or maybe more. If you don't have a LPA you will almost certainly incur legal costs and Court of Protection costs in returning to the Court of Protection for review. Alternatively, you can pay the minimal cost of putting in place the LPA and the registration fees as and when the LPA is needed.