People often ask whether an estate will ‘go to Probate’, although many are unclear exactly what this means. A Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration if there is no Will) authorises the Executor to administer the estate by collecting in...
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to choose someone whom you trust to make decisions on your behalf about things such as your property and financial affairs or personal welfare at a time in the future when you no longer wish to make those decisions or you may lack the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself.
The LPA can only be used after it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and we can help you with this procedure. There are two types of LPA. One is a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and the other is a Health Welfare LPA. The person or persons you appoint to act for you are called your Attorneys. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a very important document and you can give your Attorney(s) wide powers that they can use when acting for you in the future. An LPA is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. It is essential therefore that you take care when deciding who your Attorney(s) is/are going to be. You need to be confident that your Attorney(s) will act in your best interests and that they will be able, and have the time, to carry out the tasks involved.
Who can make an LPA?
Anyone aged 18 or over, with the capacity to do so, can make an LPA appointing one or more Attorneys to make decisions on their behalf. If someone no longer has the capacity to sign an LPA but their affairs need to be dealt with, then an application must be made to appoint a Deputy.
What if you have an Enduring Power of Attorney?
LPAs were introduced on 1st October 2007. It is no longer possible to create a new Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) as these have now been replaced by LPAs. If you already have a valid EPA in place, then this will not be revoked and you will not need to make a new LPA unless you wish to change the appointment of your Attorney(s). An EPA only gave an Attorney power to deal with someone’s financial affairs and not their health and welfare so you may wish to have a Personal Welfare LPA put in place. We can advise you or your Attorney (s) on the registration of an EPA. We have years of experience in acting for people in connection with powers of attorney and will be able to guide you through the process of setting up an LPA and we will be able to provide advice and assistance for anyone contemplating becoming or already acting as an Attorney. To discuss your requirements, please contact a member of our Private Client team.
Who will look after your affairs if you do not have a Power of Attorney?
When a person becomes mentally incapable of dealing with his or her financial matters, unless he or she has previously made an Enduring Power of Attorney (prior to 1st October 2007) or a Lasting Power of Attorney (after 1st October 2007), it will be necessary to apply to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy. Your Deputy would deal with your affairs under the supervision of the Court of Protection. It is normally a close relative or professional who would make an application to be appointed by the Court of Protection as Deputy to deal with the day to day financial matters. An application is made by completing and submitting various forms to the Court of Protection, including details of finances/expenses. The Court will also require a Medical Certificate confirming that the person you are applying to act as Deputy for is mentally incapable of managing their own affairs. Once appointed, a Deputy should keep records of day to day expenditure and will usually be required by the Court to complete annual Returns.
How can we help?
We have a wealth of experience in making applications to the Office of Public Guardian (Powers of Attorney) and to the Court of Protection (Deputyship). In most cases we are happy to be appointed as an Attorney or Deputy if requested to do so.
Please go to our 'Costs of making a Lasting Power of Attorney' page for more information.