Lasting Powers of Attorney – What you need to know

What is an LPA?
A Lasting Powers of Attorney document (LPA) is a legal document allowing someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, should you become unable to do so yourself.  Having an LPA is especially important if you own a business.

How do I go about choosing an attorney?
When drawing up a Lasting Powers of Attorney document, the attorney(s) you choose must be 18 or over.  They can be your partner, a member of your family or a friend.  As they are potentially going to make important, possibly life-changing decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, you need to be confident that they understand your wishes, and probably that they share, or at least respect your values.  Another thing to consider is whether they have the strength of personality to stand up for you and make difficult decisions for you when others may disagree. Your attorney should always act in your best interests, even if they have a personal interest in your affairs.

How many attorneys can I have?
You can have more than one attorney, in fact, there is no limit to the number of attorneys you can have. You can also choose one or more replacement attorney(s), should the original attorney(s) be unable to act.  But be cautious of ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’.  If your affairs are complex; does your chosen attorney have the knowledge and expertise to act? Are there any potential conflicts between your chosen attorneys? To help you decide who would be the most appropriate person to act as your attorney, it is a good idea to ask yourself the following questions.

  • Who would understand my wishes/affairs and respect my values? 
  • Who would be strong enough to stand up for me even when others disagree?
  • Who can work together?

Specifying how multiple attorneys are to be appointed
If you chose to have more than one attorney, you will need to specify how they are to go about making decisions on your behalf.  This can be done in one of three ways:

If you choose for your attorneys to act jointly then your attorneys will make decisions together and must agree unanimously on any decisions they make. For example, if you have 3 attorneys, the majority does not win! This can cause problems if a decision needs to be made but it is not possible to contact all of the attorneys.  Deciding that your attorneys should act jointly will also mean that if one attorney is unable to act e.g., if they themselves become incapacitated or die, then your LPA automatically becomes invalid, unless you have adequate replacement arrangements in the LPA.

Jointly for some decisions, and jointly and severally for other decisions
This means you can stipulate some decisions which must be made together and other decisions where the attorneys can act alone. If you don’t specify how your attorneys must act when you fill in the form, then they will be required to act jointly. This can be complex to set out / define and may become unintentionally cumbersome.

Jointly and severally
Choosing for your attorneys to act ‘jointly and severally’ is generally considered to be the most robust option.  This means that if not all your appointed attorneys can ben reached, the one(s) that can be contacted is able to make the decision for you.   It also means that your LPA will remain valid if an attorney dies or is unable to act for some reason. If you’ve chosen any replacement attorneys, they can step in to act with the remaining attorneys. If one of your attorneys was abroad, your affairs could still be managed by the boots on the ground without any unwanted hold ups.

What about a professional attorney – is this a better option?
Every situation is different but there are a number of reasons where you may decide that appointing a professional attorney is more suitable.

  • If you own a business, things will get much more complicated in terms of keeping things going or potentially winding them up should you become incapacitated. Appointing a professional attorney is advised if you own a business and often a requirement for certain professionals making LPAs themselves.
  • You may feel that you don’t want to place additional burden on your family and friends and would prefer that someone else takes on the responsibility.
  • A professional attorney will be impartial and removed from any family disputes ideally placed to manage your affairs in line with your wishes.
  • A professional attorney will have the knowledge and experience to avoid potential pitfalls such as tax and accidental legal breaches.
  • You could create a Property & Finance LPA for business with a professional attorney, and a separate LPA for Property & Finance for your personal affairs, appointing family members for example.

What age should you get an LPA?
Most people associate LPAs with elderly people who are in danger of losing capacity.  However, the uncomfortable truth is, none of us know when we might be affected by illness or a sudden event which causes us to lose capacity.  These things don’t just happen to the elderly. Having an LPA in place makes a traumatic time far less stressful for your loved ones should the unimaginable happen.  From big decisions such as your medical care, to smaller but important practical decisions such as dealing with bank payments and utilities.  Giving someone you trust the power to make decisions for you at such a time helps make things much easier for everyone. You must have capacity to create an LPA, so leaving it until you ‘need’ one may mean that it is too late by the time an LPA is tackled. We describe LPAs as insurance policies to be prepared now and then stored for another day, if ever.

Types of LPA
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney.  One covers Health and Welfare and the other is covers your Property and Finances.  These have replaced the old Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).  The LPAs are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian immediately and are effective as soon as that has been done.  The old EPAs aren’t registered until required so the downside of relying on these older types of document is that there is a time delay at the point at which you need them. The other main difference between the two is that EPAs do not cover Health and Welfare.

What is a certificate provider?
In order to complete your LPA, a certificate is required to confirm that you understand the LPA and the reason for making it.  The person who provides this confirmation is known as a Certificate Provider.  It can be someone you have known personally for more than two years or an appropriate professional, such as your solicitor.  We can act as certificate provider as long as we are not appointed as attorney.  GPs can act as a certificate provider but will commonly charge you to do this, whereas this is included in our fee as part of the service to you if you instruct us to prepare your LPAs.

How much does an LPA cost?
Lasting Powers of Attorney cost £500 per single document (multiple document discount available) + court fees of £82 per document. For further detail on our pricing, please view our Pricing page.

Get in touch
If you would like to speak to us about arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney, our friendly and experienced team would be delighted to hear from you. Just call us on 01872 241408 or email