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As a doctor you’ll be aware of LPAs (Lasting Powers of Attorney) but how many of you actually have one in place?
Despite the fact that we are conscious of our own mortality, it’s often felt that LPAs are only a concern for older people – in fact, only 1% of the population has an LPA.
An LPA is a safety net for you and your loved ones, and the indiscriminate nature of accidents leading to diminished capacity means it’s incredibly important to have one in place – no matter how old you are.
You may already be well-informed about LPAs, but did you know…
Dementia can mean a person’s mental capacity declines very quickly. If this happens before you can prepare an LPA, it can take more than six months to be awarded a Deputy order, during which time your loved ones would not legally be able to make any decisions on your behalf.
It isn’t nice to think about such a subject, but I hope this blog shows the importance of having an LPA in place – and that if you don’t already have one, you’ll consider getting one. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Never leave ’till tomorrow that which you can do today.”
Do you have an LPA experience you want to share? Share your comments with us below.
Robert Day is a senior lawyer at BMA Law. If you don’t have a will or LPA in place, BMA Law can help. With fixed fees and preferential rates for BMA members, we’ll make sure you and your loved ones are catered for in the event of your death or diminished capacity.
Get in touch on 0300 123 2014 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your needs.
Very good and timely advice.
Dr Bashir Qureshi. Life Member of the BMA
Agree that LPA is a very useful safety net to have in place, but its a shame it is such a long winded processs & expensive to set up. Is there any way of simplifying it?eg doing the paperwork oneself & using a solicitor to set it up
If I have a will, on my death can this replace LPA ?. What is the extent of attorney authoroty on my money in the bank ? what will be his communication or conferring with my family the role of this LPA is not clear. You did not mention the cost !. It seems that the LPA is only needed in case of diminished capacity like dementia ,is that right ? But the will is more important in case of death is that right ? !
LPA role is not clear
Role of LPA is not understood, is it useful in case of dementia . what about if I made a will still I need this LPA after death ??
My comment should be anonymous !!
How do you set up LPAs then ?
Remember England and Scotland have different LPA arrangements so make sure you look on the correct website!
The new LPA website www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/make-lasting-power makes it very easy to DIY an LPA. The explanations are excellent and talk you through the process. After getting the correct people to sign the form in the correct order it just remains to register the LPA with a cost of £120 for property and financial LPA and £120 for health and welfare LPA. Simple - it really is.
Vanessa Banks, Wills & Probate lawyer at BMA Law has provided some additional information in response to your comment. If you require any further support, please contact BMA Law on the contact details above.
Comment: Agree that LPA is a very useful safety net to have in place, but it’s a shame it is such a long winded process & expensive to set up. Is there any way of simplifying it? E.g. doing the paperwork oneself & using a solicitor to set it up
Response: An LPA can be completed yourself using the online forms, however there are sections throughout the form that the Office of the Public Guardian recommends you seek legal advice and the implications for not completing the forms correctly could mean your LPA does not work as you would want it to. You are correct, preparing an LPA can be a lengthy process, but in comparison to the alternative of applying for a Deputyship Order once capacity has been lost which can take 6 months, it is much quicker and puts you in control who will be your Attorneys, how they act and what decisions they can make. At BMA Law we have a team of experts who can guide you through the process in a timely manner and we offer a discounted rates for our members.
Dear Mohamed Tageldin
Comment: If I have a will, on my death can this replace LPA? What is the extent of attorney authority on my money in the bank? What will be his communication or conferring with my family the role of this LPA is not clear. You did not mention the cost! It seems that the LPA is only needed in case of diminished capacity like dementia, is that right? But the will is more important in case of death is that right?
Response: An LPA is an important tool to have in place during your lifetime. It allows you to state who you want to be your attorneys (this could include family members), how they act and what decisions they can make if you are unable to make decisions for yourself at any point, either through physical or mental incapacity. Mental incapacities may include infirmity, dementia, learning disabilities, mental health problems, stroke, or head injuries. Physical incapacity could include cases where you receive hospital treatment and find it difficult to get to the bank, talk on the phone or sign documents. In these cases, you can give your Attorneys the authority to act on your behalf, but only under your instructions. You can also use your LPA to request that your Attorneys prepare annual accounts for your Executors (who again maybe family members) for example. When you pass away, your LPA becomes invalid and your Attorneys no longer have any authority to act. At this point, your will becomes effective, and the Executors appointed in your Will assume authority. At BMA Law we believe that both documents are important, as protecting yourself during your lifetime is equally as important as ensuring your estate is distributed to those who matter to you most on death. We offer a friendly, efficient service, discounted for BMA members, so please give us a call for a free no obligation quotation.
Comment: The new LPA website www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/make-lasting-power makes it very easy to DIY an LPA. The explanations are excellent and talk you through the process. After getting the correct people to sign the form in the correct order it just remains to register the LPA with a cost of £120 for property and financial LPA and £120 for health and welfare LPA. Simple - it really is.
Response: You are correct in that you can prepare an LPA application yourself using the online forms, however there are sections throughout the form that the Office of the Public Guardian recommend you seek legal advice so that the implications of the decisions you make when creating your LPA can be explained clearly to you in relation to your specific needs. For example, many people do not understand the implications of appointing attorneys and replacement attorneys to act ‘jointly’ or ‘jointly and severally’, or how and when replacement attorneys step in to act. Instructions given in your LPA can be binding on your attorneys and if careful thought is not given to them they may be legally incorrect or contradict a previous power already given. As you correctly mention there is a strict order the forms should be signed in and if signed incorrectly and submitted, a further application fee would need to be paid to resubmit the correctly signed forms. It is always better to seek legal advice when creating such an important document, not only to save yourself hassle, but also to ensure that your attorneys are able to act for you as quickly as needed. At BMA Law we will talk through your circumstances, discuss the implications of each decision with you and check your LPA has been signed correctly, as should you lose capacity in the future it will be too late to put any mistakes right. We offer reduced fees for our members and will support you through the whole process until your LPA has been registered. The fee to register the LPA is £110 each for both the Property and Financial and Health and Welfare LPA.
My mother set one up in her 60's and when she had problems in her 90's, it was invaluable as everyone would speak to my brother and I once they had established we had LPOA. If not, we would not have been easily able to sort out live in help for her and made decisions on her behalf ie to stay at home. We had to fax or email copies of it to social services, care agencies etc but then it was easy to sort everything thereafter. I will definitely have one myself.
Make the attorneys "Joint and severally", not "Joint". My mother in law signed the paperwork for Enduring Power of Attorney about 13 years ago, with her 2 sons named as attorneys. She lives in Shrewsbury, we live in Basingstoke and her other son lives in St Albans. Her solicitor was aware of this - the addresses are on the paperwork. Her solicitor advised her to make any decisions "Joint" between her 2 sons, rather than "Joint and Severally". Now she has dementia and the EPA has been enacted. Her money is in the Nationwide Building Society, who do not issue cheque books. Nationwide insist that ANY financial payments can only be made if both her sons are in the branch at the same time. We are endeavouring to open a bank account for her, but finding it almost impossible. They require proof of identity of mother in law. Her passport is out of date, and she gave up her driving licence years ago. Her utility bills have been addressed to us for years, for my husband to pay on her behalf. The bank will accept a letter from a Government agency, signed by a real person, as a proof of her identity, but do not count the NHS as a Government agency. She now has Attendance Allowance, but the original letter confirming that is out of date (for the banks procedures), and a fresh letter confirming her receipt is also unacceptable to the bank.
Meanwhile we pay all the cost of her care. PLEASE make sure that your attorneys are appointed "Joint and Severally", not just "Joint".
I am constantly amazed at the mismatch between our professional experience of incapacity & the mayhem that ensues and the lack of preparedness of clinicians. Plan ahead to save your family & friends from worry, and be the example your parents can copy without misinterpreting the suggestion that they plan for loss of capacity. And persuade your children to make wills too - again helping to suck the emotion out of older people being asked to do so, normalising it. No interests to declare except 30 years a geriatrician, not a lawyer!