Responsible Estate Planning

Frequently Asked Quetions: LPAs

It is important to ensure you have the correct Lasting Power of Attorney to suit your unique situation. Hopefully, our Frequently Asked Questions page can answer any questions you may have. If not feel free to call us 0808 178 8105 for a no-obligation conversation.

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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables you to appoint somebody to make decisions on your behalf about your money, property and welfare, either now or at some point in the future. An LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and only takes effect once it has been registered.

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Who should make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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Ultimately everybody is the simple answer, anybody could have an accident or illness that, regardless of age, makes them physically or mentally incapable of looking after their affairs themselves. It could, therefore, be argued that having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place is as important, if not more important than having a Will.

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Why should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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It is a good idea to get a Lasting Power of Attorney set up before you need it. It is much harder and more expensive for somebody to help you with your affairs if you have already lost mental capacity. None of us knows when or if we will lose mental capacity, it could happen at any time such as after an accident or a stroke. It is important to understand that setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney doesn’t mean giving up control.

If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and lose mental capacity, an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order for somebody to be able to manage your affairs on your behalf. This is a lengthy process which can take up to a year to complete and could cost more than £3,000. The court will make the final decision as to who is appointed to deal with your affairs and could quite easily not be who you would have wanted it to be.

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What types of Lasting Power of Attorney are there?

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There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney:

Health & Welfare
This enables you to choose one or more people who can make decisions for you in relation to your health and wellbeing, for example, what treatment you receive and whether you need to move into a care home.

Property & Financial Affairs
This enables you to choose one or more people to manage your property and financial affairs should you no longer either be physically or mentally able to yourself, for example running your bank accounts, dealing with your tax affairs, buying and selling property.

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What does it mean to lack of capacity?

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If you have mental capacity, you can make decisions for yourself. The legal definition says that someone who lacks capacity cannot do one or more of the following things:

  • Understand information given to them
  • Retain that information long enough to be able to make a decision
  • Weigh up the information available to make a decision
  • Communicate their decision by any possible means such as talking, using sign language or even simple muscle movements like blinking an eye or squeezing a hand
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Can I choose anybody to be an attorney?

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When considering who you would like to act as your attorney it is important that you choose somebody you trust implicitly to look after your affairs. Typically, people choose members of their family such as their spouse or children, but it is also possible to appoint a professional adviser such as a solicitor.

Ultimately anybody over the age of 18 can be an attorney, although in the case of a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney the person cannot have been bankrupt.

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What are the responsibilities of an attorney?

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The responsibilities of an attorney are dependent on the type of Lasting Power of Attorney and any restrictions you may have had included in it, but an attorney must:

  • Make decisions that are in your best interest
  • Only make decisions that are covered by the terms of the Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Not delegate their powers and responsibilities to anybody else unless you have expressly stated that they may do so in the Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Maintain your confidentiality

An attorney, however, is also limited and there are a number of things that they cannot do:

  • Act on your behalf where you have expressly limited or forbidden them to do so
  • Make gifts on your behalf (except in limited circumstances)
  • Sign a Will on your behalf
  • Make decisions that are not in your best interest
  • Consent to your marriage or divorce
  • Make decisions using a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney where you have not lost mental capacity
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Can I cancel my Lasting Power of Attorney?

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So long as you still have mental capacity you can cancel your Lasting Power of Attorney. This does, however, need to be done through a formal revocation. It should also be noted that if an Attorney is your spouse or civil partner, a divorce, annulment or dissolution of the marriage or civil partnership will end their appointment as an attorney unless you expressly state otherwise in the Lasting Power of Attorney.

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How do I register a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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Once you have agreed and signed the final version of the Lasting Power of Attorney with Responsible Estate Planning, we will, as part of our service, register the Lasting Power of Attorney with the Office of The Public Guardian for you.

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How do I get a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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Contact Responsible Estate Planning and we will talk you through the process, understand your wants and needs and then we can organise this for you. You can contact Responsible Estate Planning either:

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