Reasons to choose Wilson Browne
How important are LPAs? Do you need to go to a solicitor to draft them or can you do them yourself?
An LPA is a legal document which allows you (the Donor) to appoint people (Attorneys) to act on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA available.
- The first type is ‘Property and Financial Affairs’. This enables your chosen Attorneys to manage your finances (this includes your bank accounts, tax, bills, pension, benefits, investments etc) and sell your property.
- The second is ‘Health and Welfare’. This deals with the more personal aspects of your life (including your care options, medical appointments, your personal correspondence including access to medical records and even decisions regarding consenting to or refusing life sustaining treatment).
Unfortunately, you can lose capacity at any age and so it is important to make an LPA as early as possible as you are not able to make one once you have lost capacity. An LPA is rather like an insurance policy; once you have it, it’s there if you need it.
There is a common misconception that your loved ones will automatically take control of your affairs if you lose capacity. This is incorrect as they have no automatic legal right to make decisions about your care or access your bank accounts. The only way for you to guarantee that your chosen loved ones can make decisions on your behalf is by appointing them as your Attorney under your LPA.
Your Property and Financial Affairs LPA can also work if you still have mental capacity. For example, there may come a time when you are not able to leave your home or you have a short stay in hospital. During this time, your chosen Attorneys would be able to deal with paying your bills and managing your bank accounts in your best interests. You will therefore still be making your own financial decisions but your Attorneys executing them on your behalf. The difference between your Property and Financial Affairs LPA and your Health and Welfare LPA is that the latter can only be used by your chosen Attorneys when you have lost mental capacity.
If you are unable to give instructions to make an LPA but it appears that someone is required to make decisions on your behalf, the Court of Protection may need to be involved to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. This may not be the person that you would like and is a much more costly and time-consuming process.
Why should I instruct a solicitor to assist me to put LPAs in place?
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) do not check the names and addresses that you include in your form. If there are mistakes, the LPA may still be registered but could be invalid. The effect of this is that when your Attorney attempts to use their powers, this may not be allowed as their identification does not match the LPA document.
Whilst the LPA appears fairly easy to complete, if you do not follow the OPG’s instructions exactly, your application may be rejected. You may then need to amend your application and pay another registration fee.
When making your application online, there is no way to prove who is setting up the LPA. Unfortunately, someone who is looking to take advantage may be applying for an LPA and asking you to simply sign some forms. They are then given the powers to make decisions for you under the LPA if it is registered.
You are not just instructing a solicitor to complete the forms for you, you are accessing their knowledge and experience on a theoretical and practical basis. Your solicitor will ask you questions to challenge your decisions, help you understand if your choices are workable, assess your capacity and keep comprehensive records if the LPA is challenged in the future. A solicitor is independent, acting in your best interests and ensuring that the decisions and choices you make when making an LPA are your own and are appropriate in your individual circumstances.
Instructing a professional ensures that the procedure has been done correctly based on your instructions so if you require our assistance to get your LPAs in place, you can contact us on 0800 088 6004 – we are all the help you need!