A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows one or more people to make decisions on your behalf. An Attorney can help you make decisions about your money and welfare.
Alistair Wilson, Savings Expert at Zurich, said:
‘Registering an LPA has become even more important since the pension reforms.
‘Thousands of people are now making complex decisions on their pension into old age, when the risk of developing a sudden illness or condition such as dementia increases.
‘Despite this, many are unprepared for a sudden health shock or a decline in their mental abilities. The time to set up an LPA is well before you need it, and pension providers should be highlighting this to their customers.’
But a Lasting Power of Attorney isn’t just something to consider when planning for later life. It could help if you need someone to support you with decisions – if you’re working abroad or need to undergo hospital treatment. Or, if you just don’t feel confident making decisions on your own, you can use an LPA to enlist someone you trust to help.
What is Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two different areas covered by Lasting Power of Attorney responsibilities:
- Your property and finances – paying bills, making mortgage payments, investment decisions, dealing with your taxes.
- Your health and welfare – your medical care, where you should live, what you should eat, who you have contact with, what kind of activities you should take part in.
Making an LPA does not mean you are no longer in charge of your finances or wellbeing. Unless you say otherwise, your Attorney will not be able to act until you have lost capacity to make decisions and carry them out.
I’m married. Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Your partner does not have the legal right to make decisions on your behalf – no matter how long you’ve been together or whether you’re married. Neither does having a joint account, or being their ‘next of kin’.
How do I get a Power of Attorney?
Decide who you want to be your attorney, and what powers you want to give them
Part of the role of an Attorney is to take all possible steps to help you make decisions, rather than simply taking over. If you are concerned you can set restrictions on your LPA, on the types of decisions your attorney can make, and even appoint more than one attorney ‘jointly’, ensuring that more than one person must weigh up each decision.
Register with the Office of the Public Guardian. You can fill out the forms yourself, or find a solicitor to help you
You will need to make your LPA when you have mental capacity. If you foresee a time when you will need someone else to make decisions on your behalf, it’s a good idea to make your LPA.
Currently the registration fee for an LPA is £82 – and this fee applies to the two types of LPA. So it would cost £164 to register for a financial LPA and a health and welfare LPA.
Unless you have a professional attorney, the role is unpaid. If asked to become an attorney, there is no obligation to take on the role.
An LPA can be cancelled – while you have capacity
You can cancel your LPA while you have mental capacity, even if the application has been registered. The LPA will be cancelled if the attorney or donor dies, if the attorney lacks mental capacity, or if the attorney or donor becomes bankrupt.
Why has my financial adviser suggested I get a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If a time comes when you can’t make decisions about your finances, and you don’t have an Attorney in place, the Court of Protection may put a Deputy in place. The Deputy will have to follow the same principles as an Attorney, but this means you won’t be able to choose who this is. Putting an LPA in place yourself can give you more control over your future.
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