If you become unable to manage your own affairs because of illness or injury, who can automatically take control for you? As it currently stands, no one can. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to grant someone else legal authority to take care of matters for you.
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, the only option for your loved ones would be to apply to the Court for a Deputyship Order. This is a lengthy, complex and very expensive process. Putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place while you're able to do so can save a lot of stress and expense, and it's easier than you might think.
To help you through the process, we've created a step-by-step guide to putting your LPA in place.
Step 1: Decide Which Type of LPA You Need
There are two types of LPA available, a Health and Welfare LPA and a Property and Financial Affairs LPA.
A Health and Welfare LPA will enable your appointed attorney to make decisions on crucial matters around your health and welfare if you are unable to. This could include what medical treatment you receive, where you live and how and where you are cared for.
These are all very important decisions which will a significant bearing on the way in which you live your life. If you're not able to voice your own wishes, you can rest assured in the knowledge that your attorney will speak on your behalf.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA will enable your appointed attorney to manage any property, money and financial assets that you own in England or Wales. This means that they will be able to access your bank account to pay your bills or buy your groceries. It also means that they could manage investments (such as shares) on your behalf so that these do not become neglected. If you own a property that requires maintenance then your attorney would be able to take care of this for you, covering the costs with your own money.
You can choose to just put one type of LPA in place or you can put both types in place to cover all bases.
Step 2: Choose Who You Would Like to Appoint as Your Attorney(s)
Deciding who you would like to entrust with the responsibility of being your attorney is a decision which should be taken very seriously. Your attorney should be someone who you trust without question as well as being someone who is capable of stepping in and taking control as and when they need to. You can choose more than one person as an attorney and can even choose replacements in case your first choice is unable to act. The attorneys you name will need to sign your LPA in due course to confirm that they are prepared to accept the role.
Step 3: Choose Someone to Be Your 'Certificate Provider'
A Certificate Provider is someone that must have known you for at least two years and is prepared to sign your LPA to confirm that you have understood the nature and effect of the LPA, that you are not being pressurised and that you are acting on your own free will. This could typically be a friend or neighbour. Alternatively a medical professional, such as your doctor, could also carry out this role.
Step 4: Complete the Legal Documentation
We would always recommend seeking advice and support from a legal professional when putting an LPA in place. A professional legal service, such as the Co-op, will discuss your circumstances in detail, explain what options you have and prepare all of the paperwork on your behalf.
Instructing a professional can also make the process much quicker and more straightforward for you, as you'll be walked through the process step-by-step and offered support and guidance every step of the way. With Co-op you don't even need to visit a Solicitor's office – everything can be done over the phone or you can even start your LPA online.
Once your LPA has been drafted, you will then just need to check that you're happy with everything and arrange for it to be signed. In order to then activate the LPA, an application needs to be made to have it officially registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). This work is included in the Co-op's fixed fee LPA service however the OPG charges an additional fee of £82 for each LPA they register.
Step 5: Relax
Once registered the final step is to relax and get back to loving life, safe in the knowledge that someone you trust will be able to step in and take control for you if ever the need arises.
Co-op Legal Services creates thousands of LPAs every year for our clients. If you have any questions or would just like to know more about our service and obtain an upfront fixed fee price you can speak to our Advisors today.
For initial advice about making an LPA call our Will writers on 03306069591 or contact us online and we will help you.