Reasons to choose Wilson Browne
A lasting power of attorney, or LPA, is an important way of planning for your future and protecting yourself in the event that you can no longer make your own decisions.
But should one of your decisions now be to write your own LPA? Legally, you can, but there are potential disadvantages to this approach.
Why is Lasting Power of Attorney Important?
Generally, we are living longer. Average life expectancy in the UK is currently 81.40 years.
But increased life expectancy can have implications for people’s health, including their mental condition. This can mean that as you get older, you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
With a lasting power of attorney, you can appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions for you.
This is an important aspect of planning for the future, as it gives you more control over what happens to you should you be unable to make your own decisions. You could have a debilitating illness, for example, or lose the mental capacity to make decisions.
There are two kinds of LPA:
- Health and welfare – for if you are unable to make your own decisions
- Property and financial affairs – which can come into use as soon as you register it.
You can choose to make either or both.
The LPA is a legal document, where you, the donor, appoint an attorney, or attorneys, to act on your behalf or help you make decisions.
With a health and welfare LPA, you give your attorney power to make decisions about things such as your daily routine, your medical care and moving to a care home. It only applies if you are unable to make decisions yourself.
The property and financial affairs LPA gives your attorney power to make decisions about things such as selling your home, managing a bank account, paying bills and collecting benefits. If you give your attorney permission, they can use the LPA as soon as your register it.
Should You Do It Yourself?
There are plenty of online sites that enable users to apply for LPAs which they complete and submit on their own, with no third-party legal advice or help.
This can be a tempting option since it generally costs less than using a solicitor.
But it still involves a specific procedure, as it is part of a legal process, and getting it wrong can cause issues later on.
In the same way that you can legally write your own will, so you can create your own LPA.
But you must submit it to the Office of the Public Guardian for approval, and they could refuse to approve it.
What Are Common LPA Errors?
There can often be clerical and administrative errors on a self-written LPA, which the Office of the Public Guardian will pick up on.
But common errors are often concern provisions in the LPA that are not compatible with the way you have appointed your attorneys.
For example, if you appoint two or more attorneys, they can act jointly or jointly and severally:
- Jointly means they both must agree before making any decision, or acting on your behalf
- Jointly and severally means they can act independently of each other, without requiring the other’s agreement.
You can also note that you want to have your attorneys acting jointly in some issues, but jointly and severally in others.
You may want to appoint replacement attorneys, in case your original choices are unable to act.
These issues can make LPAs complicated and confusing if you want to make sure that your LPA will be both legally valid and reflect your wishes accurately.
What Happens if Your LPA is Invalid?
There is a registration fee for submitting your LPA, which is currently £110. If you have to resubmit it, you will need to pay this fee again.
If you do not resubmit your LPA, and fail to register one, then ultimately, should you become unable to make decisions for yourself, the Court of Protection will make decisions for you.
Professional LPA Services
We can write your LPA according to your wishes, safeguarding your future and making sure everything in it is clear and covers everything you need it to.