Nobody wants to think that the day might come when they are unable to manage our own affairs or make their own decisions about things like where they live, what medical treatment they receive or how to invest their money.
Registering a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a bit like taking out insurance. You might never need to use it, but it’s there just in case.
You can only set up a LPA if you have mental capacity so it’s worth considering in advance if you have early signs of dementia.
If someone does not have mental capacity, perhaps because of dementia or a brain injury, they cannot make an LPA. In this instance, your family member can apply to be your ‘deputy'.
Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney
As the person who is giving authority, i.e. the ‘donor’, you must be the one who decides an LPA is needed.
The attorney(s) referred to is the person(s) you are giving authority to. If you have more than one attorney they must come to an agreement on matters that concern you.
There are two distinct types of LPA:
A Property and Affairs LPA covers all financial and property issues, including:
- day-to-day money matters
- applying for benefits
- dealing with debts
- selling (or buying) property.
This kind of LPA can also be used while you still have mental capacity.
A Personal Welfare LPA gives the attorney the power to make decisions about your health, housing and social care issues. This kind of LPA can be only be used when you no longer have mental capacity.
The two types of LPAs are quite distinct and each attorney can only make the decisions they have been given the authority to make. If you’d prefer, you can choose one person to be the attorney for both LPAs; however, you can also ask people several people to share the attorney role for one or both LPAs.
Registering your Lasting Power of Attorney
An LPA cannot be used until it is registered (the fee is £110 but you may be eligible for exemption or a reduced fee); however, you can register it long before you need one. You might never need it, but putting one in place will make life easier for everyone if you lose mental capacity at a future date.
It usually takes about six weeks to register an LPA. The process is relatively simple. There is online help available, e.g. from AA Legal Documents, however, you may prefer to use your own solicitor.
The Office of Public Guardian will help you decide whether or not you should make a LPA and will provide the necessary forms to register one. Call: 0300 456 0300 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm, Wednesday) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are unsure if someone has a LPA or not (or which type), you can search the register free of charge (you must first complete an application form).
You can cancel a LPA if you no longer need it or want to make a new one.