Power of Attorney

What is a Power of
Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone (The Agent), to make decisions for you (The Principal) or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.

There are a number of reasons why you might need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf:

This could just be a temporary situation: for example, if you’re in hospital and need help with everyday tasks such as paying bills.

You may need to make longer-term plans if, for example, you have been diagnosed with dementia and you may lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.

What is mental
capacity?

Mental capacity means the ability to make or communicate specific decisions at the time they need to be made. To have mental capacity you must understand the decision you need to make, why you need to make it, and the likely outcome of your decision.

Some people will be able to make decisions about some things but not others. For example, they may be able to decide what to buy for dinner, but be unable to understand and arrange their home insurance. Alternatively, their ability to make decisions may change from day to day.

Needing more time to understand or communicate doesn’t mean you lack mental capacity. For example, having dementia doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is unable to make any decisions for themselves. Where someone is having difficulty communicating a decision, an attempt should always be made to overcome those difficulties and help the person decide for themselves.

Different types of power
of attorney

This covers decisions about your financial affairs and is valid while you have mental capacity. It is suitable if you need cover for a temporary period (hospital stay or holiday) or if you find it hard to get out, or you want someone to act for you.

This covers decisions about your financial affairs and is valid while you have mental capacity. It is suitable if you need cover for a temporary period (hospital stay or holiday) or if you find it hard to get out, or you want someone to act for you.

EPAs were replaced by LPAs in October 2007. However, if you made and signed an EPA before 1 October 2007, it should still be valid. An EPA covers decisions about your property and financial affairs, and it comes into effect if you lose mental capacity, or if you want someone to act on your behalf. 

How do I set up a power
of attorney?

If you want to set up an ordinary power of attorney you should contact your local Citizen’s Advice or get advice from a solicitor as there is a standard form of wording that must be used.

Contact the Office of the Public Guardian to get the relevant forms and an information pack. You can download the forms or fill them out online.

You can fill out the forms yourself, or with the help of a solicitor or local advice agency. Taking professional advice can prevent problems later on, especially if you’re unsure of the process or your affairs are complex.

Have your LPA signed by a certificate provider. This is someone who confirms that you understand it and haven’t been put under any pressure to sign it. The certificate provider must be someone you know well or a professional person such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor.

The LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. There’s a fee of £82 to register your LPA. If you’re on a low income, you may be eligible for a 50% discount, and if you’re receiving certain benefits you won’t have to pay anything at all. You must register your LPA while you still have the mental capacity and it can’t be used during the registration process which takes about 9 weeks. If you lose mental capacity but signed the LPA while you still had mental capacity, your attorney can register it for you.

Make a lasting power of attorney

Download the forms or fill them in online -Visit GOV.UK

How much does it cost to set up a lasting power of attorney?

You will need to register the LPA before you can use it. In England and Wales, the registration fee is £82 for each LPA – so it costs £164 to register both an LPA for property and financial affairs and an LPA for health and welfare.

Property and financial affairs

This LPA covers The Principals’ money and property.
The Principal does not have to own their own home or have a lot of money to make this type of LPA.

Decisions the Agent can make
The Principal chooses people they trust (Agents) to make decisions on their behalf about money and financial matters, such as:
  1. opening, closing and using their bank or building society accounts
  2. claiming, receiving and using their benefits, pensions and allowances
  3. paying household and other bills
  4. buying and selling their house
  5. managing their property and investments
The Principal can also make a separate LPA for their business affairs if they want different people to make those decisions.

When a property and financial affairs LPA can be used

When they make their LPA, the Principal can decide whether it can be used:
  1. as soon as it’s registered
  2. only when they have lost mental capacity
Useful Phone number

Office of the Public Guardian
Telephone: 0300 456 0300 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, except Wednesday, 10am to 5pm

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