What are LPAs and what can they do?
Do I need an LPA if I am married? What can attorneys do? How much does it cost to make an LPA?
This article outlines the benefits of Lasting Powers of Attorneys (‘LPAs’) and how you can make them.
An LPA is a legal document which allows you (“the donor”) to appoint one or more people (your “attorneys”) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
They are essential in giving you more control over what happens to you and your property if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions. This is known as “lacking mental capacity” to make decisions.
This article explores who can be an attorney, how to make an LPA and the importance of doing so.
What is the difference between an LPA and an enduring power of attorney?
An enduring power of attorney (EPA) was capable of creation under the previous system. However, EPAs were replaced by LPAs in October 2007.
Nonetheless, if an EPA was created and signed before 1 October 2007, it can still be used. After this date, donors must make an LPA instead.
An EPA covers decisions about your property and financial affairs, and is effective if you lose mental capacity, or if you want someone to act on your behalf.
Are there any requirements to make an LPA?
You must be over 18 years of age and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your LPA.
You do not need to live in the UK or be a British citizen.
What types of LPA are there?
There are two types of LPAs:
- LPA for financial decisions
- LPA for health and care decisions
A financial LPA can allow your attorneys to:
• Buy and sell property
• Pay the mortgage
• Invest your money
• Pay bills
• Arrange repairs to property.
A financial LPA can be used while you still have mental capacity or you can choose that it only comes into force if you lose capacity.
If you’re setting up a financial LPA, your attorney must keep accounts and make sure their money is kept separate from yours. You can ask for regular details of how much is spent and how much money you have. These details can be sent to your solicitor or a family member if you lose mental capacity. This offers an extra layer of protection.
Health and Care LPA
A health LPA can only be used if you have lost mental capacity. You attorneys can generally make decisions about:
• Where you should live
• Your medical care
• What you should eat
• With whom you should have contact
• The types of social activities in which you should take part
You can also give your attorneys special permission to make decisions about life-saving treatments.
Do I need an LPA if I am married?
Do not assume that you do not need an LPA because you are married.
If you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse will not automatically be able to deal with your bank account and pensions, and make decisions about your healthcare, if you lose the ability to do so.
Without an LPA, they will not have the authority.
How do you make an LPA?
You can make an LPA online yourself or through the postal method. An LPA is not effective until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Whether you make an LPA online or over the phone, you need to post the signed LPA to the OPG at the following address: Office of the Public Guardian, PO Box 16185, Birmingham, B2 2WH.
Whilst it is possible to make an LPA yourself, if you have any unusual or specific requirements, it is recommended you get help from a professional.
How much does it cost to make an LPA?
It costs £82 to register each LPA unless you get a reduction or exemption. The registration fee is per LPA, so if you wish to register both a Health and Financial LPA, the registration fee would be £164 overall.
You can pay the OPG fees by cheque or credit or debit card.