Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are considered to be one of the most important areas of planning you can put in place during your lifetime for yourself.
Steve Bryan of Eagle Estate Planning led the implementation for the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) across Derbyshire between 2008 and 2012 and lectures on its application. The MCA introduced Lasting Powers of Attorney.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney. The first and most commonly registered Lasting Power is a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and the second type is a Personal Welfare LPA. You can appoint a single Attorney or more than one Attorney.
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows the attorney(s) to deal with all financial matters and the financial institutions will only allow action to be taken upon its production. The Personal Welfare LPA allows the attorney(s) to make decisions about all health and care issues. You will recognise they both have distinct areas of decision making and authorised actions.
A person over 18 years can donate their authority to another trusted person(s) or a trust corporation to make decisions for them when they lack the mental ability to do so themselves. Usually, the attorney(s) are family members, husband and wife, sons and daughters. The attorney(s) always have to act in the person’s best interest and that is why family members are usually appointed. It can, of course, be non-family members. Attorneys have to be over 18 and not bankrupt.
People lose mental capacity for many reasons and capacity can fluctuate over time. People become ill for instance dementia or stroke or in some cases sustain a significant head injury, possibly through a serious road accident or sporting injury.
What would you do if you were in the position of looking after a family member who had lost the mental capacity to make their own decisions and take actions for themselves? Now consider what you would do if the legal authority was not in place for you to take the actions that needed to be taken?
You can put an LPA in place before you lose or start to lose capacity. The Office of the Public Guardian regulates LPA’s. The problem for family members occurs when no LPA has been put in place and one is needed. Family members have to go to the Court of Protection and apply for an LPA or Guardianship order to be put in place. The court is a private court and the current costs start at £410 just to submit the initial papers. The court process is not quick and their costs are high. It can be a very stressful time for all involved. It can be avoided by making the appropriate arrangements. Over 38,000 court orders were made in 2017.
In addition to the fee charged for putting both types of LPA in place, they also attract the OPG registration fee of £82 for each LPA but that can be reduced depending on your income.
Consider putting in place LPA’s to ensure that you have had the opportunity to make arrangements to enable trusted people to look after you if you lose mental capacity.
June 19th, 2018