From time to time I speak at networking events about Lasting Powers of Attorney and am often asked questions. So, I’ve decided to put fingers to keyboard and go through some of the common ones. My hope is that this will help your mum understand why she should get a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place.
If you’re an adult offspring you and your mum need to talk about sorting her LPA out. And, the sooner the better – because one never knows!
WHAT IS A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
An LPA is a legal document that allows your mum to appoint people (her Attorneys) to act on her behalf when she is no longer capable of managing her own affairs for herself – either for physical or mental reasons.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF POWERS OF ATTORNEY MY MUM SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
Yes, there are. There are two types of LPA:
- The first kind deals with your mum’s property and financial affairs.
- The second kind deals with your mum’s health and welfare.
These are the two main types of LPAs and you can find out more about each type here.
There are two good reasons why your mum should sort out her LPA – now! Let’s take a look at them below.
- In brief, with a financial LPA, your mum’s attorneys can buy and sell her property and have access to her bank accounts so they can withdraw money and pay bills. Therefore, if your mum wants you to look after her property and money affairs in the event of her incapacitation, she should get an LPA sorted out while she can.
- To give you the power to look after all things relating to her health and welfare should she be unable to do it herself.
HOW SHOULD MY MUM CHOOSE HER ATTORNEYS AND HOW MANY CAN SHE HAVE?
Your mum’s attorneys must be over 18 years old and be people that she has total trust in. After all, they’ll have to make important decisions for her about her health and finances.
Her attorneys will have access to her money and the right to make important medical decisions on her behalf. So, she needs to choose people who can manage the responsibility and have the time to help her too.
If your mum wants you to be one of her attorneys, you should suggest she have a second one, or a replacement in place. Then if, for some reason you’re not able to help – abroad at the time of need perhaps – the other attorney can step into the breach. I advise you to help your mum select someone with whom you get on. It can otherwise be difficult to reach decisions if no-one can agree on a plan of action.
Your mum shouldn’t select more than four attorneys for practical reasons – unless there’s some specific reason why she should.
HOW CAN MY MUM MAKE A LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Your mum can seek professional advice and have the LPA completed and registered. You must register any LPA before you can use it.
Of course, if your mum prefers, she can contact me to enlist my help.
HOW LONG DOES IT ALL TAKE?
I can usually complete the forms within a couple of days if I’ve got all the information to hand. You need to get the LPA signed by the person making them (the Donor) – that’ll be your mum, all the attorneys and a Certificate Provider. That’s someone who signs to say that you and your mum understand what’s happening and that no-one has forced her into making an LPA.
The bit that takes time is the registration process. The law requires that all LPAs are registered before use. Registration takes about two-three months. It’s always best to register the LPAs at once. Then, when your mum needs her attorney/s to use it, they can.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR MUM’S ATTORNEY DIES OR LOSES CAPACITY THEMSELVES?
If your mum has appointed more than one attorney “jointly and severally” and one of them dies or loses capacity, the others can carry on acting on her behalf.
CAN MY MUM CHANGE HER MIND ABOUT WHO SHE HAS AS HER ATTORNEYS?
Yes. But it’s not simple to do. She would have to revoke or cancel her original LPA and then make a whole new one. This is expensive and time consuming so it’s best to make an LPA with a view to it standing the test of time.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST MUM?
If she completes the forms herself, either online or using the paper forms, it will not cost anything to do.
There is a registration fee – currently £82 per LPA. Although there are fee reductions and exemptions available for certain people. If your mum uses professional help their fees will vary. She can see how much I charge here for drafting LPAs.
HOW DOES MY MUM GET MORE INFORMATION?
She can always call me on 07538946839 or email me at email@example.com.
I’m more than happy to give her some initial advice and help her decide whether she should have an LPA.
Also, the Office of the Public Guardian explains LPAs in great detail and is user friendly.