LPA fee reduction
There has never been a better time to plan ahead and make a Lasting Power of Attorney. On 1 April 2017, the fee to register a Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, was reduced from £110 to £82. The Office of the Public Guardian says the fees have been reduced because an increase in the volume of LPA applications means the income it receives in registration fees now exceeds the cost of the service.
Slee Blackwell’s Private Client team has been encouraging clients to put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place for some time now and this news illustrates how many more people are taking this sensible step. However, according to a recent study, as many as 85 per cent of adults in the UK still don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Benefits of making an LPA
Many people mistakenly believe that their next of kin will be allowed to make decisions on their behalf if circumstances arise where they lack capacity to make decisions themselves. But the term ‘next of kin’ doesn’t mean anything in law, nor does it come with any automatic powers. The only people who can make decisions on your behalf are those who have been authorised to do so. And the easiest way of achieving this is by making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
What is an attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney enables you to nominate people, known as attorneys, who are authorised to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity at some future point. Attorneys are often close family members, but some people choose to appoint friends or their solicitors.
An attorney only has authority to act once the Lasting Power of Attorney has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. It can take up to 12 weeks to register a Lasting Power of Attorney and we recommend that LPAs are registered as soon as they have been executed so as to avoid any inconvenience at a later date.
Two types of LPA
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney; one in relation to your property and financial affairs and another in relation to your health and welfare.
Under a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs your attorneys would be authorised, for example, to make decisions on buying and selling your property, running your bank accounts, dealing with your bills and state benefits and investing your money.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare allows your chosen attorneys to make decisions about your daily routine, including where you live, your care and your medical treatment. It also gives you the option to give your attorneys the power to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment on your behalf. The two Lasting Powers of Attorney are independent of each other; you can make one or both types.
Is it important to make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
The combination of our ageing population and the number of people with dementia steadily increasing, together with greater restrictions and controls when accessing funds for a third party or making decisions about their personal welfare, makes the need for people to create a Lasting Power of Attorney absolutely crucial. Its especially important for those who own property or are responsible for financially supporting others.
Failure to make an LPA can cause serious problems for your loved ones in the event of incapacity arising, increasing the stress and emotional turmoil they will be suffering at a very difficult time.
Free initial guidance on making an LPA
If you would like free initial guidance from a solicitor with experience of preparing LPAs, Vanessa Swales can be contacted direct by email.
Alternatively, you can call our free helpline on freephone 0808 139 1606.