Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors
As you approach later life, it is vital to put plans in place to ensure your family and estate are properly looked after. If something happens that prevents you from making decisions for yourself, this could throw your family's whole future into doubt and disarray.
Our private client team at Percy Hughes & Roberts can help you plan for the unexpected by working with you to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) document. This can play a crucial role in your future planning, as it allows you to nominate someone you trust to make key decisions about your health, finances or both when you are no longer able to do so.
If you are looking to create an LPA, the legal experts at Percy Hughes & Roberts can guide you through the entire process, provide total clarity on how LPAs work and explain how you can ensure your family's future is properly protected.
Based in Birkenhead, we have been delivering the highest quality legal services for clients across the Wirral, Merseyside and the North West for more than 100 years.
If you want to establish an LPA or want to find out more information about these documents, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert lasting power of attorney solicitors today. Call us on 0151 666 9090, or send us your query by filling in our online contact form and we will call you back.
Why choose Percy Hughes & Roberts Solicitors?
The specialist private client team at Percy Hughes & Roberts Solicitors have vast experience working in this area of the law and will provide you with clear and comprehensive information and advice to help you create the LPA you require.
Our commitment to the highest standards of service is reflected by the quality accreditations our team have received from various national organisations, such as Lexcel, the Law Society's quality standard.
We have been providing quality, concise legal advice for more than a century, and we are dedicated to helping members of the community receive the simple and cost-effective support they need.
What are lasting powers of attorney?
LPAs are legal documents that allow you to appoint one or more individuals (called attorneys) to make key decisions about your finances and welfare during your lifetime, if something happens that renders you unable to do so independently.
These were introduced in October 2007 as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, replacing the older system of Enduring Powers of Attorney. There are two kinds of LPAs:
- Lasting Powers of Attorney (Property and Affairs) - these enable you to authorise your attorney to make decisions regarding your finances, bills, bank accounts and property
- Lasting Powers of Attorney (Health and Welfare) - these delegate responsibility for your health and personal welfare to your attorney, including decisions about where you should live and what day-to-day care or medical treatments you should receive
You must have the document registered with the Office of the Public Guardian for the LPA to be binding and effective; without this, your attorney will have no legal authority to act on your behalf. Your attorney can be a professional solicitor, but this is not a requirement.
How do I make a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney deed?
An LPA is a document in a statutory format. The form is a long one and the process of completing it can be somewhat off-putting. If you do not complete it in the correct way it may be unable to be registered or turn out to be invalid at a time when you need it the most. Therefore, it is best to obtain professional advice from a solicitor who specialises in this area of law and is used to dealing with the process, as this can help you to avoid the pitfalls that can otherwise occur.
When can a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney deed be used?
Once the Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney is completed, it has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. Once it has been registered, it can be used at any time by those you have appointed as your attorneys. This means both after you have lost mental capacity and before, although they will need your permission in cases where you can still make your own decisions.
How can our specialist Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors help you?
If you are seeking to make a Lasting Power of Attorney document, Percy Hughes & Roberts can provide legal guidance and support through each stage of the process, including:
- Discussing the different type of powers that can be allocated to an attorney through an LPA
- Helping you select the right type and structure for your LPA to meet your specific needs
- Advising you on choosing an appropriate attorney or attorneys
- Drafting the LPA document itself, with wording and clauses tailored specifically to address your personal needs and priorities
- Assisting your chosen attorneys in completing the paperwork and certifying the document
- Registering the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian to make it legally binding
Mistakes made during this process may result in the LPA failing to meet the necessary legal standard, or failing to provide the level of protection and legal clarity you were seeking. If this happens, the LPA document may be rejected, extending your waiting period by months, which is why getting the right specialist legal support on your LPA is so important.
What will happen if I haven't made a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you do not have a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney deed in place and you lose capacity your relatives may be forced to make an application to the Court of Protection whereby a Deputy is appointed to deal with your property and financial affairs. The Court appoints the Deputy.
The Deputy, therefore, might not be someone who you would have chosen to deal with your property and financial affairs. The appointment of a Deputy process is both long-winded and considerably more expensive than making a Lasting Power of Attorney Deed.
The cost of applying for someone to be appointed to be your Deputy is not just a one-off cost as the Court of Protection requires annual Court fees and insurance payments as well which may run into thousands of pounds over the years.
Who can be chosen as an attorney under an LPA?
Anyone over the age of 18 can be selected as an attorney under the terms of an LPA, including partners, family members, friends and associates. You may also wish to nominate a professional attorney, such as a solicitor, to oversee complex financial decisions.
When choosing a designated attorney, it is worth considering the following questions:
- Do you trust them to understand and respect your wishes?
- Are they willing and comfortable to act as your attorney and carry out your requests?
- Do you believe them to be capable of managing your affairs?
- Which responsibilities would you be comfortable entrusting them with?
It is possible to nominate multiple attorneys and specify whether they need to act jointly or separately on specific decisions. However, it is worth bearing in mind that disagreements between attorneys can sometimes arise, which is why it may be best to ensure that responsibilities are clearly delineated in your LPA.
What is the difference between Lasting and Enduring Power of Attorney?
While both an LPA and an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) are used to appoint attorneys to make decisions on someone's behalf in case they lose mental capacity, there are important differences between the two.
The EPA, an older form of this legal document, was introduced in the UK in 1985. It only covers property and financial affairs, and had to be registered only when the subject became mentally incapable.
However, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 replaced EPAs with LPAs. As we have explained, LPAs come in two types and may cover health and care decisions alongside property and financial affairs. LPAs need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian immediately after creation, even while the subject still retains mental capacity.
Any Property and Financial Affairs or Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney registered after 2007 will be an LPA. If an agreement was created before 2007, it will be an EPA and should still be valid in most cases. However, it is important to consult a solicitor about your specific circumstances in these cases, as there are many factors that can affect LPAs and your rights as an attorney or as a person who is subject to such an agreement.
Contact Percy Hughes & Roberts
We pride ourselves on offering expert advice that's easy to understand, and we will be with you through every step of the legal process. Our offices are based in Birkenhead, but we service the wider Wirral, Liverpool, Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales area, as well as clients nationwide.