A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the 'donor') appoint people (known as 'attorneys') to make decisions on your behalf. Power of Attorney can relate to your property and financial affairs or health and welfare.
Yes, as this is such an important legal document you should see a solicitor to discuss your Power of Attorney. This is because it is crucial for us to understand what your wishes are. To achieve this it is always better to have a face to face meeting. This can be at your residence or at our offices.
We need to see you to go over many important issues such as who you would like to appoint as your attorney. If there are to be joint attorneys you will need to think about whether you wish to appoint them jointly so that they would both have to sign all documents and make decisions together or jointly and severally so that either of them could do this.
You can appoint a replacement attorney to act in case in the future your attorney is no longer able to act on your behalf.
You will also need to decide if you wish to impose any restrictions and conditions on your attorneys or if you wish to give them any guidance about matters and if they can charge for their services.
Your Doctor or other professional person or someone who has known you for at least the last 2 years can act as your certificate provider. The Lasting Power of Attorney will then have to be signed by your certificate provider who confirms that he or she believes that you understand the purpose of the Lasting Power of Attorney and that no fraud or under pressure has been used to persuade you to sign the form and that there is nothing else which would prevent the Lasting Power of Attorney being created.
Once the Lasting Power of Attorney has been signed by yourself, the Certificate Provider, and the attorneys we will then make the application for registration for the Lasting Powers of Attorney. The registration process will take at least 2 months.
Your Solicitors will be able to deal with all these formalities on your behalf and progress matters as quickly as possible.
The number of Lasting Power of Attorney arrangements registered in England and Wales continues to increase dramatically, with the total number almost doubling over the last five years. According to figures provided by the Ministry of Justice, 875,000 LPAs were registered in the year to April 2020 (22,000 of which were rejected). Roughly half a million of these registered Lasting Power of Attorney arrangements were finance and property LPAs, while the remainder covered health and welfare. To put this in context, the total number of LPAs registered in England and Wales in 2008 was a mere 36,000.
Dementia has become increasingly topical recently, with scientific research leading to better understanding and treatment of the syndrome. However, dementia and related conditions, including Alzeimer’s disease, account for around 70,000 deaths every year, making it the leading cause of death in the UK (a figure which may be exceeded by COVID-19 in 2020).
The condition’s mortality rate has more than doubled since 2010. Reasons for this sharp rise include an ageing population, more effective treatment of other conditions such as heart disease, and the growing dementia diagnosis rate. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 850,000 people living with dementia, a figure which is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. This is one of the reasons why Lasting Power of Attorney registrations have increased so rapidly in recent years.
When a person loses their mental capacity after developing a dementia condition such as Alzheimer’s disease, another person, normally a family member, will need to make decisions on their behalf. For this reason, many people choose to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney following a dementia diagnosis to ensure that their best interests are safeguarded as the condition inevitably progresses. Once mental capacity is lost, it can be a costly, lengthy and complicated process for a third party to assume responsibility for a person’s finance and property and/or health and welfare affairs. A Lasting Power of Attorney arrangement therefore represents a sensible, practical and cost-effective means of planning ahead.
Mr and Mrs K were regular clients. We had acted for them on a number of matters and they advised us that they each wished to make a Lasting Power of Attorney relating to their property and financial affairs in case either of them became unable to manage these in the future.
They had two children and asked Louise Nelson at Bartletts: how can we appoint our children to act jointly to make decisions on our behalf if we should become ill? After explaining how this could be done, they decided to appoint their children to act jointly on their behalf so that any decisions would have to be made by both children rather than one of them.
After the Lasting Powers of Attorney had been registered, Mrs K subsequently became more and more confused and was diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimers disease. Fortunately as she had prepared a Lasting Power of Attorney, her children were able to take over her financial affairs and run these smoothly. This resulted in a substantial cost savings in that there was no need for an application to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
In another case, Mr X signed a Lasting Power of Attorney and medical evidence was obtained to confirm that he had the necessary mental capacity to understand and to sign this.
The Lasting Power of Attorney was then registered. Unfortunately shortly afterwards, Mr X became confused and unable to manage his affairs but because the Lasting Power of Attorney had been signed, this resulted in significant savings and trouble in that no application had to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed.
Louise Nelson is a solicitor with over 39 years experience in drawing up Lasting Power of Attorney documents, and explaining and advising on the process. Each LPA is different, because it is intended to reflect a person’s unique wishes and intentions. Louise has registered numerous LPAs for clients in Liverpool and across Merseyside over the years, and offers a no obligation consultation by phone or in person. Bartletts Solicitors offers a transparent fixed fee service so that clients know exactly how much they will pay before instructing us. Contact Louise today on 0800 373 894, or via the contact form below.