Know the Basics About Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney  (LPA)

It is actually possible to make a lasting power of attorney online. Or, alternatively, you can use a paper form (LP1F or LP1H). And you might be able to manage the process on your own. But there are definite advantages to using a lawyer, whichever route you take. LPAs are one area of the law where do-it-yourself solutions can go badly wrong – simply by accident though LPAs can be deliberately abused too.

lawyer will help you to organise the attorney(s) and witnesses you need. And, very importantly, a lawyer will act as the ‘certificate provider’ who verifies that as ‘donor’ you are entering into the agreement of your own free will – not being stampeded or bounced into it!

This is important. Were anyone to subsequently challenge the validity of an LPA then the involvement of a lawyer as the certificate provider should be a guarantee that the process has been handled with integrity.

Very importantly lawyers will also help you to register your LPA. If that isn’t all done properly, and the LPA fails to comply with requirements on a technicality, then it won’t be legal and valid. So there could be serious repercussions for anybody who mistakenly acts, without authority, as your attorney. Even if that was in good faith.

Logistical Complexities Can Easily, and Unintentionally, Invalidate Your LPA

It is important to understand that logistical complexities can invalidate an LPA. For example any intending attorneys can observe each other sign. Yet they are barred from witnessing you sign as the donor. And they, the intending attorneys, are also barred from being the certificate provider. Moreover the donor cannot be a witness either. These are sensible safeguards. Lawyers know about them. And lawyers will prevent you from dropping a clanger!

Before You Register your LPA

Before you (or anyone acting for you) can register your LPA you have to notify people. There is a form (the LP3 form) to send to all of the ‘people to notify’ (who are also referred to as ‘people to be told’) that you (or whoever is acting for you) listed in the LPA.

Those people then have 3 weeks – 21 days – to raise any concerns with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

Apply to Register your LPA

As soon as you (or somebody acting for you) send the forms to all of the ‘people to notify’ (who are also referred to as ‘people to be told’) that are listed in the LPA, then you (or whoever acts for you as donor) can move forward and register the LPA with the OPG.

You can register the LPA yourself as the donor if you’re deemed competent. Or an attorney could do it.  But if they do it you’ll be notified. And you’ll be given the chance to object.

Again you could do that online yourself as the donor if you are sure that you understand the process. But you can alternatively fill in sections 12 to 15 of the form you already otherwise completed for your LPA. And that would then go to the OPG.

Importantly it is useful to use a solicitor to handle this too, since it reduces the chances of making a gaffe.

Complexities to Consider

The level of fee you pay, and indeed the forms you need to complete, depend on:

  • The number of LPAs involved and what they cover (i.e. property and financial or health and welfare – or both)
  • Reductions (if you earn under £12k)
  • Exemptions (if you’re on certain benefits)
  • If the LPA you’re registering now was originally signed before 1st April 2011, or thereafter but before 1st January 2016, or after that
  • If somebody has made any mistakes on the form that have to be remedied

How Long Does All This Take?

So how long will it take to get your LPA registered?

  • It is quicker online. And your lawyer can help with this if there’s a compelling need to hurry
  • If there are no mistakes in the paper application then it will probably take 8 to 10 weeks
  • Any mistakes will mean a delay of a minimum of 3 months. And an administration charge to remedy them.

Where Can You Find Out More About LPAs?

You can find out more on LPAs at Goodwills though the government website will tell you a lot at www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney.

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Lasting Power Of Attorney