A few months ago I helped my in laws fill out the necessary paperwork to register Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
A health scare and talking to their friends made them realise the importance of having LPA should one of them no longer have capacity to deal with their own affairs, both in terms of their health and their finances.
I’m not an expert in these matters, so if you are unsure I would always advice that you seek advice from the experts.
What’s the point in getting LPA?
No one ever really knows what’s around the corner and I’m surprised that obtaining lpa isn’t something that we are made more aware of. We are always told of the importance of having a Will.
Being a parent does not give you automatic rights to make decisions on behalf of your child either, the reason for this being that once they reach the age of 18, legally, parental responsibility ceases.
Won’t companies just talk to me anyway?
Being related or being a close friend does not automatically give your the right to manage someone’s finances nor make decisions about their health and welfare. THerefore it is unlikely that a company will speak to you without evidence that you have legal rights under the Lasting Power of Attorney.
So getting frustrated or angry at someone at the other end of a phone because they are unable to tell you something that is quite basic isn’t helpful as they are only following the letter of the law.
Making the right decision?
Choosing who should be your attorney isn’t a decision that should be taken likely. There are many stories out there of family members taking advantage of relatives after having received the necessary documentation to manage their finances only to then financially abuse their friend or relative by treating their money as their own.
What types of LPA are there and what is the Attorney’s responsibilities ?
Health and welfare
As an attorney for Health and Welfare it will be your responsibility to either make decisions or help the person that has given you LPA on matters relating to their everyday lives. This could include things such as where you are cared for, what kind of medical attention that you recieve.
Depending on the LPA document you might also be responsible for decisions relating to whether life sustaining treatment is given.
Property and financial affairs
As an attorney for Finances and Property affairs, depending on the authority given to you, it will be your responsibility to make decisions relating to selling their property and buying property, banking, benefits and debts.
What if the responsibilities under Lasting Power of Attorney is too much to deal with?
Just because you have been made lasting power of attorney, doesn’t mean that you have to continue being so indefinitely, by filling out a form called the LPA005 and sending it to the donor and all other Lasting Power of Attorney’s.
Is it too early to get lasting power of attorney?
Though it is probably perceived that getting LPA is something that you probably only need past a certain age, I don’t believe this to be the case at all.
As i said at the beginning of this post, no one ever really knows what is around the corner and getting LPA registered as earliest as possible is just as important as getting a Will written
How much does it cost?
If you are going to carry out the administrative work yourself the cost to registering LPA individually is £82 or £164 if registering both.
If you make less than £12,000 before tax or on benefits you can get a reduction of this cost and will have to pay half.
What’s the alternative?
If you don’t obtain power of attorney while someone has capacity you would have to make an application to the court of protection to become someone’s deputy
This is where it gets expensive. The application fee is £385 and then the hearing fee is a further £500. If the courts make a decision that you don’t agree with then you would have to appeal, with a further cost of £350. So as you can see the benefits of obtaining LPA while some has capacity has its benefits.
Will a lasting power of attorney allow me to deal with someone’s estate if they died?
As soon as someone dies you are no longer that persons attorney and the responsibility of managing their estate would lie with the person that they had named in their will had they made one or alternatively someone who comes forward as an administrator if they hadn’t.
- So long as you are over 18, get LPA registered as soon as you are able
- Don’t just appoint anyone as your LPA, consider this seriously as this can be the cause of family disputes if not considered carefully
- If you are unable to carry out the registration process yourself, seek professional advice