Why should I make and register a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for my health, welfare, finances and property?
What if I lose mental capacity?
If you lose mental capacity and become unable to make decisions for yourself, then it could become catastrophic for your loved ones and could have a detrimental effect on your assets and your welfare. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to nominate an attorney or attorneys who can make decisions on your behalf if you then lose mental capacity and you are unable to make decisions yourself.
What decisions can my attorney(s) make?
You would normally appoint attorneys that know you well, such as close family members or friends. This is because they are required to make decisions as you would make them. You can help them out by putting preferences into the document, and you can determine how attorneys can act in different scenarios. You can appoint professional attorneys if you prefer.
There are two distinct types of Lasting Power of Attorney. One to deal with property and finances, and the other to deal with health and welfare. You can choose to have one or both of these Lasting Powers of Attorney, and you can appoint the same or different attorneys for each LPA. For the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney you can choose whether the attorney(s) can or cannot make life sustaining treatment options on your behalf.
When should I register an LPA?
When you make a Lasting Power of Attorney, we recommend it is registered straight away as it cannot be used until it is registered. It can take up to ten weeks to register an LPA with the Office of Public Guardian. If it isn't registered straight away, it is generally registered when it is required. This can cause many problems as during the registration period the attorneys are unable to act. This could be a crucial time, when important decisions need to be made.
If an LPA is lost, damaged or destroyed and it isn't registered then a new LPA will need to be made, which might not be possible depending on the health of the Donor (the person making the LPA). If it is registered, an office copy can be issued and the office copy can be used the same as the original LPA.
What if I don't have an LPA?
If you do not have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney, and there is no authority for someone to act as an attorney for certain decisions, then an application can be made to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy. This application can be made by a family member, a friend or anyone else. The application process to become a deputy can be very extensive and expensive (potentially up to ten times more than putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place). The Court of Protection will decide who is appointed as a deputy, and what decisions they can make, which are generally very limited. There will be ongoing costs and reporting requirements too.
As an example, the typical cost of using a professional to apply for a property and financial deputyship on your behalf is £1,500 + Vat, plus a £375 application fee, totaling around £2200. A typical cost for a property and financial LPA with professional support from Goodwills is around £200 including the registration fee of £82. The financial saving is only the tip of the iceberg. The ongoing reporting requirements and costs, and the restrictions placed by the Court of Protection on the deputy will make it much harder to carry out the day to day affairs on your behalf.
More people are becoming aware of the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney and the cost of not having them in place, but still a large proportion of the population still do not have them in place. LPAs are very important in ensuring that your financial and welfare affairs will be dealt with properly.
Ask yourself this: Would you rather pay around £200 for a legal document that puts you and your trusted loved ones in control of your affairs, or around £2,200 for a court order which you will have no control over?
Goodwills Wilts and Glos price check
Goodwills Wilts and Glos One LPA from £89 (one document)
Co-operative Legal Services One LPA: £270 (one document)
Goodwills Wilts and Glos Both LPAs from £178 (two documents)
Co-operative Legal Services Both LPAs from £540* (two documents)
The above prices are for one person. If you are a couple then the following will apply:
Goodwills Wilts and Glos One LPA Each £178 (two documents)
Co-operative Legal Services One LPA Each: £450 (two documents)
Goodwills Wilts and Glos Both LPAs Each £356 (four documents)
Co-operative Legal Services Both LPAs from £828 (four documents)
* Prices correct as of 24th November 2019. All prices include VAT as applicable. Further information about what is included in our standard prices can be found in the question and answer section below. For all LPA's a registration fee of £82 for each LPA is due in addition to the above, made payable to the Office of Public Guardian. This fee may be waived by the OPG depending on your income and benefits you received.