What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) is a legal document that enables you to choose someone to make decisions on your behalf about such things as your finances, property and your personal welfare at a time in the future should you become physically or mentally incapable to deal with those affairs.
Property & Financial Affairs LPA
This LPA allows you to appoint attorneys to make a range of decisions about your property and finances including the buying and selling of your house, dealing with your tax affairs, paying your bills, operating bank and building society accounts and claiming benefits on your behalf. The LPA can be used at your direction while mentally capable and also by the Attorneys if you lack capacity to make these decisions.
Health & Welfare LPA
Attorneys appointed under this document can make decisions relating to your living accommodation and care, consenting to or refusing medical treatment on your behalf, and on day-to-day matters such as diet and dress. This LPA can only be used if you have lost the capacity to make decisions for yourself.
What is a Certificate Provider?
A “Certificate Provider” is either someone who knows you well or a professional person. The Certificate Provider must sign the form to confirm that they have discussed the contents of the LPA with you and that they can state that you understand the purpose and scope of the LPA, no undue pressure or fraud is involved in the decision to make an LPA and there are no other factors preventing the creation of the LPA.
Our lawyers at Posada & Co are qualified to act as Certificate Provider and will discuss this with you when you instruct us to prepare your LPA.
Both types of LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used by your attorneys. Registration can be by you or your attorney. As stated above, a Health & Welfare LPA can only be used when you no longer have the mental capacity to make particular decisions affecting your health and personal welfare. The cost of registration as at July 2015 is £110 per document.
Attorney’s Powers and Responsibilities
- The attorney’s powers may be restricted and the LPA can specify that it can only come into force once you no longer have mental capacity (this applies in any case to Health & Welfare LPAs).
- The attorneys only have limited powers to make gifts of your money or property, although the court may authorise additional giving.
- When making investment decisions, the attorney will need to take appropriate professional advice.
- An attorney may refuse their appointment by completing a specified form, which will need to be sent to you and copied to the other attorneys and the court.
- Attorneys must observe the Code of Practice and professionals who are being paid for their services are required to display a higher standard of care and skill than a non-professional attorney.
Our role as your legal advisor
We will be involved in the initial process of advising you about LPAs and we may also act as your Certificate Provider. We will also assist you with the registration process.
It may also be appropriate in some cases for your legal advisor to be appointed as an attorney, often with a family member or a close friend.