What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf in your absence such as an accident or illness or where you cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’)
You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your LPA. You do not need to live in the UK or be a British citizen.
There are 2 types of LPA:
• health and welfare to be used to make decisions about your daily routine, medical care, moving into a care home, or life-sustaining treatment
• property and financial affairs such as managing a bank or building society account, paying bills, collecting benefits or a pension, selling your home.
You can choose to make one type or both.
Choose your attorney
You can choose one or more people to be your attorney. If you appoint more than one, you must decide whether they’ll make decisions separately or together.
The attorney needs to be 18 or over and could be a relative, friend, and a professional, for example, a solicitor, your husband, wife, or partner. The appointed person must be someone who has the mental capacity to make their own decisions and should not be subject to a Debt Relief Order or bankrupt. The Attorney does not need to live in the UK or be a British citizen but should be able to take up the attorney’s responsibilities.
When you make your LPA you can nominate other people to replace your attorney or attorneys if at some point they cannot act on your behalf anymore.
Make a lasting power of attorney
You can make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) online or using paper forms. The forms (original documents) need to be signed by the attorneys and witnesses and a ‘certificate provider’, who confirms you’re making the LPA by choice and you understand what you’re doing.
When you’ve made the LPA you need to register it with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) which will take between 8 and 10 weeks to register if there are no mistakes in the application.
Before you register your LPA, you should send a form (LP3) to all the ‘people to notify’ (also called ‘people to be told’) you listed in the LPA.
They’ll have 3 weeks to raise any concerns with the OPG.
It costs £82 to register each LPA unless you get a reduction or exemption. This means it costs £164 to register both a property and financial affairs LPA and a health and welfare LPA. You can pay by credit or debit card or cheque payable to the ‘Office of the Public Guardian’.
Certify a copy of a lasting power of attorney
You can confirm that a copy of your lasting power of attorney (LPA) is genuine by ‘certifying’ it if you’re still able to make your own decisions. You or your attorney can use a certified copy to register your LPA if you do not have the original form and to prove they have permission to make decisions on your behalf, for example, to manage your bank account.
Change your lasting power of attorney
You can ask the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to change your lasting power of attorney (LPA) if it’s been registered and you still have the mental capacity to make decisions.
If you want to remove one of your attorneys
You will need to send OPG a written statement called a ‘partial deed of revocation’.
If you want to add another attorney you need to end your LPA and make a new one.
If your attorney’s details change you must write to OPG if they have changed their name – by marriage or deed poll or address or in the event of their death, along with supporting documents.
End your lasting power of attorney
You can end your lasting power of attorney (LPA) yourself – if you have the mental capacity to make that decision through a deed of revocation.
You can also complain if you have concerns about your attorney, for example, if they’re not carrying out their responsibilities properly.
Other ways a lasting power of attorney can end
Your LPA may end if your attorney:
• loses the ability to make decisions – ‘loses mental capacity’
• divorces you or ends your civil partnership if they’re your husband, wife, or partner
• becomes bankrupt or they’re subject to a Debt Relief Order (DRO) – if they’re a property and financial affairs attorney
• is removed by the Court of Protection
If your only attorney dies
Your LPA will end if your attorney dies and you have no replacement attorneys.
Your LPA can continue if:
• there are other attorneys who can act ‘jointly and severally’ – but not if they are only allowed to act ‘jointly’
• there are replacement attorneys
If you die
Your LPA will end automatically when you die. Your affairs will be looked after by your executors or personal representatives from that point, not your attorney.
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