Create a lasting power of attorney with the help of Approved Wills
Our Birmingham-based legal team can visit you at home to put measures in place to make sure your health and financial affairs will be taken care of.
Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) allow a trusted person to act for you in certain circumstances
What type of LPA do you require?
The two most common types of LPA are property and financial affairs and secondly, health and welfare. There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf. Generally, this would be because you feel at some point you may not have the mental capacity to do so for yourself.
LPAs could just be temporary, for example, if you are in hospital and need help with everyday things such as making sure bills are paid. Or you may need to make more long-term plans if, for example, you’ve had an accident, or you’re concerned about being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s in the future.
If you don’t want to give someone access to your bank account, then there are several options open to you:
Set up a standing order – this enables you to regularly pay a set amount to the attorney
Set up direct debits – This is often the easiest way to pay regular bills
Use a prepaid card – This enables you to control the amount your attorney spends
Change your bank account into a joint account – You can then restrict the account to cheques only and include a joint mandate requiring your signature
Set up a third party mandate – This allows someone to manage your account on your behalf
Why set up a lasting power of attorney?
You can plan in advance who and how you want someone to act on your behalf and, if they don’t, because the LPA is registered by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) they can intervene and your attorney can be held accountable.
A restriction can be put into an LPA stating that it does not come into effect until you lose the mental capacity to make decisions yourself.
At the moment, it takes about 16 weeks for an LPA application to be processed and returned to the donor, so many clients ask for a general power to be drafted while the LPA is being processed. The general power is effective as soon as it has been signed and witnessed but becomes invalid when the donor becomes incapacitated. A lasting power of attorney remains valid until the donor dies or revokes the power – which he or she cannot do if they lack capacity.
The alternative for a person who loses capacity and has no valid LPA is for his family (or in some cases the social services) to apply to the Court of Protection (CoP) to appoint a deputy, this is a long-winded and expensive process. The appointed deputy, even if they are a family member, may have to provide security which can be for hundreds of thousands of pounds (though a special insurance policy can be arranged to cover this). A deputy may have to produce accounts when the court demands them and may also have to ask the CoP’s permission to buy or sell the home if it is no longer lived in by the donor.
For a good illustration of how the Court of Protection can potentially disrupt people’s lives, we recommend doing an internet search Heather Bateman’s story. This truly illustrates the value in arranging a lasting power of attorney.
Obtaining a lasting power of attorney
The donor (the person who wants to appoint attorneys) cannot apply for an LPA if they lack capacity. The donor must also read all the information he receives from the Office of the Public Guardian – about 56 pages in total. Prospective attorneys should also read this information.
The donor will then need:
Names, addresses, dates of birth, occupations and relationship to his attorneys; ditto any replacement attorneys
One certificate provider plus one person to notify OR two certificate providers
Information about any guidance or restrictions they want to apply
To note if they want their spouse to remain an attorney after a divorce or separation
Witnesses for all signatures
Details of any trust corporation they might want to act as an attorney
Institute of Professional Will Writers
I am a member of The Institute of Professional Will Writers. Please find below their leaflet of recommended information.