What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) lets someone as the donor, appoint someone else to make decisions on their behalf. There are two types of LPA, a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Personal Welfare LPA and they are normally used when someone is unable, or is likely to become unable, to make their own decisions. The donor can choose to make one type of Lasting Power of Attorney, or both.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used even if the donor has the mental capacity to manage their own financial affairs, but it must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian first. The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) replaced the old system of Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) which was discontinued on 1 October 2007, although pre-existing EPAs are still valid.
If you are seeking to establish an LPA appointment or have been granted an LPA or an EPA you can obtain guidance and information from the Office of the Public Guardian customer services. If you are wanting as an LPA or EPA, to engage in financial transactions, for example like negotiating an equity release plan, seek independent legal or financial advice regarding your status and your right to represent the donor in those financial transactions. Individual lenders or product providers may or may not deal with EPA or LPA holders as bona fide representatives, so you will need to ask them about this before entering into any transaction on behalf of the donor.
The Personal Welfare LPA allows the donor to choose one person or more to make decisions about things like their daily routine (eg eating and what to wear); medical care; moving into a care home; refusing life-sustaining treatment. The Property and Financial Affairs LPA lets the donor choose one person or more to make decisions about money and property for them, eg: paying bills; collecting benefits; selling their home.
The donor can choose one person or more as their attorney, to make decisions on their behalf. In choosing an attorney (LPA), the donor should consider how well the person looks after their own affairs, how well the donor knows and trusts them to make decisions in the donor’s best interests and how happy they will be taking on the responsibility.
The attorney can be anyone 18 or over, eg. a relative, a friend, a professional (like a solicitor), a husband, wife or partner. The donor can’t choose someone who is under 18; is unable to make decisions; has been declared bankrupt (if they are wanted to look after property or money).
A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once it’s been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. You can register a Lasting Power of Attorney if you’re the person who needs the attorney – you must be able to make your own decisions when you register. It can take up to ten weeks to register an LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian and it is necessary to check that anyone named in the application should be told and given at least five weeks to raise any concerns.
It costs £130 to register each Lasting Power of Attorney, while registering both types of Lasting Power of Attorney costs £260. If the registration form is returned because it is found to be incorrectly filled in, this will cost a further £65.
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