LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
A lot of people don’t really know what a Lasting Power of Attorney does and most other people think that they don’t need one or that they can’t afford one. In my view everyone needs a Lasting Power of Attorney and no one can afford to not have one in place .Sadly most of us don’t realise how important a Lasting Power of Attorney is until there is an accident or care decisions have to be taken about an elderly relative.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney authorises nominated members of your family and /or trusted friends to act on your behalf if you are not capable of making your own decisions.
There are 2 different types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Health and welfare – this type of Lasting Power of Attorney allows your nominated family or friends (called attorneys) to make decisions about your medical treatment and care needs if you are not able to do so as you lack capacity;
- Property and financial affairs – this type of Lasting Power of Attorney allows your agreed attorneys to manage your financial affairs (for example to manage your bank account, pay bills or to sell your house) if you lack capacity to make your own decisions.
You can do one or both types of Lasting Power of Attorney – the decision is yours.
You chose the attorneys. The attorneys only act if you don’t have capacity or, in other words, if you are not capable of making your own financial or health and welfare decisions.
The Lasting Power of Attorney is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian but won’t be used unless there comes a time when you lack the capacity to make your own decisions. While you have capacity you can cancel a Lasting Power of Attorney or nominate new attorneys.
Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Most people think that an elderly relative might need a Lasting Power of Attorney but don’t think that they need one. However no one knows when you might need an attorney to quickly act for you, either on a temporary basis (after a ski or car accident) or on a permanent basis. That is why everyone needs a Lasting Power of Attorney to cover the ‘’what ifs’’.
What you can’t do is wait until you or your relative has lost capacity (either as a result of an accident, health scare or dementia) and then ask a solicitor to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney. There is an option available if you or a relative are incapacitated and don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney already in place. An application can be made to the Court of Protection for a deputy to be appointed to look after your affairs. The appointment of a deputy costs a lot more in legal fees than drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney and there is likely to be a delay between the Court of Protection application and the appointment of the deputy. During that period your friends and family won’t be able to access bank accounts to help manage your financial affairs and pay essential bills or make health or care decisions for you.
So a Lasting Power of Attorney is a bit like a Will; everyone needs one at any age, even if none of us like to think of accidents, dementia or death.
How much does a Lasting Power of Attorney cost?
A bespoke Will and Lasting Power of Attorney drawn up by an experienced and regulated solicitor isn’t as much as you might fear.
Very few law firms publish price information on their websites. Evolve is one of the first law firms to publish fixed fees for the preparation of Powers of Attorney so you have an idea of our charges before making a call or emailing us.
So, if you need a Lasting Power of Attorney (health and welfare OR financial), then the cost will be £240, including the VAT. If you want both types of Lasting Power of Attorney the cost is £450.
If you are married and you both want a Lasting Power of Attorney (health and welfare OR financial) then the cost will be £450 for both of you. If you and your spouse or partner both want both types of Lasting Power of Attorney (health and welfare AND financial) the cost is £720.
There are registration fees payable to the Office of the Public Guardian for every Lasting Power of Attorney that is registered with them.
Many people ask how Evolve can afford to be so upfront on charges. My response is that we wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it any other way: When Evolve was set up in 2015 the firm’s vision was to put clients (and not fees) at the heart of what we do by being trusted legal advisors, who charge a fair and transparent level of fees for a bespoke service.
What do fixed fees mean for you? It means you get private client Lasting Power of Attorney advice tailored to your personal situation, based on what is best for you (not us), in return for charges that you can afford and understand.
What do I mean by that? To give an example, I met someone who thought they didn’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney at their stage of life. I talked to him and looked at his personal position: he was a business owner, keen on winter sports and skiing off piste, separated from his wife and with a new partner. I realised that if he were to have an accident and lose capacity then without a financial Lasting Power of Attorney his business might quickly get into trouble as there would be no one with the power to handle matters on a temporary basis (to pay bills and salaries) or long term basis (to employ a manager or sort out a sale of the business). Without a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney the man’s next of kin would be his estranged wife, rather than his girlfriend, parents or siblings. He realised it was essential that he sorted out two Lasting Power of Attorneys quickly to give peace of mind. And, as his situation was urgent given his planned ski trip, we were able to prepare the Lasting Power of Attorneys on the same day!
Everyone’s personal and financial circumstances are different and that is why it is so important that everyone takes bespoke advice, at a cost they can understand, so they have protection in place to protect them and their family.