Many people realise the importance of a Will, but rarely consider a Lasting Power of Attorney. In this section, our solicitors shed some light on LPAs.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), in many ways, is just as important as making a Will and allows you to appoint someone to make important decisions on your behalf should you lose the ability to do so or if you need assistance in carrying out your wishes but are unable to deal with things yourself directly.
As a leading law firm in the South, we have one of the largest teams of private client solicitors in the region, with offices located in Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole, Salisbury and Winchester.
If you are considering making, revoking or amending a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact Trethowans law firm for expert legal advice on 0800 2800 421.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document by which you assign one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf should you lose the mental capacity to make them yourself. This can include decisions regarding your health, such as care decisions, your day to day welfare and assistance with medical matters, or if you need some additional help to carry things out (such as buying and selling property for you along with assisting with all your financial matters, dealing with your investments or managing your bank accounts).
There are two types of LPA – health and care or financial decisions. Our team of experienced LPA solicitors can help you draft your application and ensure your requirements are met. Get in touch today.
Should I make an LPA?
If you have been diagnosed with dementia, Parkinson’s, or another type of degenerative disease that will eventually impact your ability to make decisions, then making an LPA is wise, and will help ease the burden on you and your family members.
However, an accident or sudden illness can occur at any point in life, so arranging an LPA is important regardless of your stage of life.
What is the benefit of having an LPA?
If you lose mental capacity without an LPA and your family want to make important legal decisions on your behalf, they will need to go through the lengthy and costly process of applying to the Court of Protection to become a ‘deputy’.
With an LPA already in place, your family members will not need to go through this process and the named ‘attorneys’ will be able to act for you. An LPA also means you ensure that you have the person (or people) you want acting on your behalf.
Is there a difference between an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) and a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney in October 2007, though EPAs made prior to this date remain valid and can still be used – although they will need to be registered if the person who has made the EPA has started to lose mental capacity. We can assist you with this process.
If you already have an EPA, you don’t necessarily need to apply for an LPA, however, you should bear in mind that EPAs only cover decisions relating to property and finance, whilst an LPA can also cover healthcare decisions. Therefore, you may want to make a health and care decisions LPA as well.
Do I need a solicitor to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney?
No, you do not legally require the assistance of a solicitor to apply for an LPA. However, an LPA is a binding legal document which fundamentally gives someone else permission to make decisions that directly impact you and your assets – it is important to get it right.
This is why we strongly suggest that you seek professional legal advice rather than attempt to apply for an LPA alone. By using an experienced law firm such as ourselves, you ensure that the process is carried out properly and all complex assets, such as overseas property and businesses, are accounted for.
What happens if the LPA attorney passes away?
In the unfortunate scenario that your chosen attorney passes away or can no longer fulfil their role, then the terms stipulated in your Lasting Power of Attorney will need to be reviewed.
If you have more than one attorney and you’ve stipulated that they can act ‘jointly and severally’ and not just ‘jointly’, then they will be able continue in their role. However, if you selected that your attorneys must act ‘jointly’ only (or on certain decisions), then the remaining attorney(s) will not be able to make these decisions alone.
An LPA also allows you to nominate replacement attorneys if one of your attorneys passes away or is no longer able to fulfil their role. If your only attorney passes away and you haven’t nominated any replacements in your LPA, then you will need to apply for a new one.
Can a couple have a combined LPA?
No, Lasting Powers of Attorney are assigned on an individual basis only, though they can be set up at the same time by the same solicitor if required. If you and your spouse are thinking about registering for an LPA, contact our private client solicitors today – we are happy to help.
Can I revoke an LPA?
If you have the mental capacity to make the decision, you can end your Lasting Power of Attorney at any time. To do this, you will need to send the original LPA and a written statement known as a ‘deed of revocation’ to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
The written wording of the deed of revocation is very specific and must be followed to the letter for the revocation to be valid. If you wish to revoke or make changes to your LPA, our team of experienced LPA solicitors can help. Contact us today on 0800 2800 421 to talk to a member of our team.