What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Here at Solomons Solicitors in Bournemouth, the questions about LPAs come thick and fast. It’s probably because of the make-up of Bournemouth’s population, which consists of lots of retired people. But LPAs are not just for retirees. Everyone can benefit from getting their legal affairs in order, ideally before they need them.
So let’s try to answer some of the frequently asked questions about what an LPA actually is and does, and why they are important.
Generally speaking, an LPA is a legal document which gives you the right to choose someone (the Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf and this is the “legal breed” of document to which LPAs belong. It is a very powerful document which affords the appointed attorneys the ability to manage your affairs as if they were their own.
LPAs cover property, finances and health and welfare. It may be that in the future you lack the mental capacity to make such decisions, or you simply wish to take a step back and let someone else make those decisions for you now. Essentially, LPAs can generally be used either with your consent at any time after they are registered, or without your consent after you lose capacity.
How can I make an LPA and what costs are involved?
There are two main ways to make an LPA. One option is a DIY route. This takes some time and the fee payable to the Government is £82 for each LPA. That means if you make the Health and Welfare and Financial LPA, the registration fees are £164 in total. Anyone who earns less than £12,000 a year can get one registered for £41.
Attorneys are able to make important decisions on behalf of vulnerable people, involving their property, money, medical treatment and end of life wishes. It is an extremely important document with serious implications for all involved. While DIY methods are cheaper in the short-term, if not done correctly they expose people to unacceptable levels of risk.
With 1000s of calls a day being made to the Office of the Public Guardian, it’s clear there is a lot of confusion about LPAs.
After receiving a consultation with a specialist solicitor, participants in a Solicitors For The Elderly study said they felt more confident about their ability to make informed and appropriate choices, and most of them made significant changes to the decisions expressed in their LPAs.
At Solomons Solicitors, our expert solicitors draft custom LPA documents to ensure that your wishes are fully met and that your LPAs are of as much use as possible when the time comes for your Attorneys to act. We believe that “future-proofing” these documents and creating accountability and protection for you, through wise and smart drafting is a vital part of both ensuring they are successfully used and providing our clients peace of mind by minimising the risk of abuse.
Whilst not everyone will need to seek help from a solicitor, for most people this remains the most effective, safe, and legally robust option.
More often a couple will arrange their Wills and Power of Attorney at the same time. This is the easiest and most cost-effective way of ensuring your legal affairs are in order. At Solomons we offer clients making wills 10% off their LPA fees.