Creating A Lasting Power Of Attorney
A Lasting Power Of Attorney or LPA is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions.
The process is different depending on which country you live in, we live in England so this article is based on our experience of using the government website for England & Wales. Links to the different government website are at the bottom of this post.
It’s worth saying that LPA’s are not just for old people, but the older you are, the more likely you are to need one.
As well a making creating a Medical LPA you might want to consider making a free and legally binding Advance Decision.
My 85 year old mother was recently quoted nearly £1,200 by a solicitor to create and register 2 LPA’s for her. I’m so glad she spoke to me before asking the solicitor to go ahead because after a quick Google I found that I can do it for her online and save nearly 90% of what the solicitor was asking.
There are two types of LPA, “Health & Welfare” and “Property & Financial Affairs”. You can have one or both, and as the names suggest they cover two distinctly different areas of your life.
The Health & Welfare LPA covers things like:
- Your daily routine including for example: washing, dressing, eating.
- Medical care.
- Moving in to a care home.
- Life sustaining treatment.
The Property & Financial Affairs LPA cover other important things like:
- Managing a building society or bank account.
- Collecting pensions or benefits.
- Paying bills.
- Selling your home.
Both are equally as important as each other but that doesn’t mean you should have both.
If you will be creating both types of LPA, you first have to complete one and then the other. It does not mater which one you do first. When completing the second LPA you have the option to use information that you entered whilst creating the first LAP which makes life easier.
So how much does an LPA cost? They cost just £82 per LPA, so if you want both the Health & Welfare and the Property & Financial Affairs it will cost you £164. Just a fraction of what the solicitor wanted to charge my mother.
There are a few terms to be familiar with that are fully enplaned in the guidance notes on the government website.
- Donor – That is you, the person that the LPA is for.
- Attorney – The person or people (there can be more than one) you are appointing to be able to make decisions on your behalf.
- Certificate Provider – Someone who can confirm you’re making the LPA by choice and you understand what you’re doing.
- Witness – This can be the Certificate Provider but can not be one of the Attorneys.
Obviously it goes with out saying that your Attorneys should be people that you can trust to respect your wishes and act only in your best interest.
Armed with the names, addresses, date of birth and email addresses of the Donor and the Attorneys, and the name and address of your Certificate Provider (who can be the same person as your Witness) you’re ready to start creating your LAP at the government website.
There are a couple of decisions you will have to make:
- If you have more than one Attorney can they make decisions independently of each other or will they have to make joint decisions.
- When will the LPA take effect, immediately (with your consent) or only in the case of diminished capacity.
You should also consider, and make your Attorneys aware of your wishes regarding your health and welfare:
- Do you want the use of such equipment as dialysis machines or ventilators to help keep you alive.
- Do you want a DRN (Do Not Resuscitate) i.e. not to use CRP in the case your heart stops beating or you stop breathing.
- Do you want fluids / liquids (intravenous) and or food (feeding tube) in the case you can’t eat or drink.
- Do you want treatment for nausea, pain or other symptoms. i.e. palliative care or comfort care.
- Do you want to donate your organs or other body tissues after your death.
Children may not like having such conversations with their aging parents / loved ones but it is important to make your wishes known. Don’t forget this is about you, not them.
Once you have completed and paid for your LPA online at the government website you can download the document in a PDF format and print it.
The Donor, Witness, Certificate Providers and the Attorney(s) need to sigh each LPA.
Make sure they are signed and dated in the correct chronological order. Failing to do so can result in your LPA being rejected.
Once complete the LPA(s) have to be posted to the Office of the Public Guardian who’s address is on the LPA document.
Creating an LPA is done at the government website relevant to where you live.
If you live in England Or Wales go to gov.uk
If you live in Scotland go to publicguardian-scotland.go.uk
If you live in Northern Ireland go to nidirect.gov.uk
Make sure you read and follow the guidance notes on the your governments website first before starting the LPA process.