How Do I Apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Although it may seem simple, applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) requires you to follow a specific procedure. Choosing a trusted solicitor will help you to avoid the pitfalls and guide you through the process with ease. Here is a quick guide to explain how you can apply for an LPA.
Why apply for a LPA?
- An LPA is ongoing arrangement that you set up in case at some point in the future you lose the mental capacity to make crucial decisions on your finances, property or health and welfare.
- Using an expert LPA solicitor guarantees no mistakes are made and your LPA is set-up properly and efficiently with minimal stress.
- Choose an Attorney you trust, this must be someone over the age of 18 and normally be a close friend or relative, but also can be professional.
- Arrange for safe and secure storage of your important legal documents
What Is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Granting Power of Attorney means allowing another person to make decisions about your life — often though not always financial decisions. This could be for a limited time. For example, if you are having an extended stay in hospital, you might wish someone else to manage collecting income and paying bills on your behalf.
A Lasting Power of Attorney, however, is an ongoing arrangement which you set up in case at some point in the future you lose the mental capacity to make crucial decisions. Loss of mental capacity is most often associated with age-related dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, but it can be caused by brain damage from an accident or serious illness, an episode of mental illness or substance addiction.
There are two types of LPA — property and finance, and health and welfare. You can appoint the same Attorney to both or keep them separate, while you also have a choice of whether to appoint one or more Attorneys to each role. However, the crucial thing is that an LPA must be set up in advance, while you still have mental capacity, otherwise the process is far more difficult and expensive for your relatives.
The 5 Steps to Set Up a Lasting Power of Attorney
While you can make the application to set up an LPA on your own, however using a solicitor who specialises in LPAs ensures the process is completed properly. They will be able to steer you without making mistakes that might result in the application being refused which could be both expensive and time consuming.
Here are five steps you need to take to apply for an LPA:
- Choose your Attorneys — This is a step where advice from a solicitor could be invaluable, as it is vital to pick the right people. Anyone over eighteen who has mental capacity can be an Attorney, but it needs to be someone you trust to have your best interests at heart. This will normally be a close friend or relative, but you may wish to appoint a professional, such as an accountant or solicitor. You must have everyone’s consent before proceeding.
- Get the forms — LPAs are under the control of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
- Fill in the forms and get signatures —You and your chosen Attorneys will need to sign the form, and the signatures must be witnessed. You will also need the signature of a “certificate provider”, who could be your solicitor, who will attest that you have the sufficient mental capacity to set up the LPA.
- Notify “people to be told” — One section of the form will ask you to identify “people to be told” — that is, anyone, such as close relatives, who should know about the LPA.
- Register your LPA — Your completed forms, along with the fee, should be submitted to the OPG. It normally takes about nine weeks before you receive a stamped copy of the Power of Attorney, at which point the LPA is valid. You can keep this safe yourself, give it to your Attorney or lodge it securely, e.g. with your solicitor.
How Much Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Cost?
The standard price currently for an LPA is £82, but this must be paid for each of your LPAs, even if you have appointed the same Attorney for both, totalling £164. However, there are discounts available if you are on a low income or benefits, and some people may not have to pay anything.
Any fees for your solicitor’s services are separate and should be arranged with them.
Choose an Expert LPA Solicitor
Applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney is a complex process. To be sure you will not be wasting time and money, you need an expert solicitor. Make sure you choose one who not only specialises in LPAs, but also has a proven track record of guiding people successfully through the procedure.
Osborne Morris & Morgan are exactly that. If you are considering setting up an LPA, check out our LPA FAQs, and when you are ready to go ahead, contact our dedicated Lasting Power of Attorney team to discuss how to proceed.