Whether you’ve already taken out an LPA or are just starting to think about it, here’s a few things you might not know – but should be aware of
1. You don’t have to use a solicitor for an LPA
Many people complete the forms themselves, without needing the services of a legal professional. When discussing their own experience of the LPA process recently, several members of the Unforgettable Support Group said it was simple and straightforward, particularly if you fill the forms in online, rather than by hand. Those who do decide to use a solicitor usually do so for peace of mind or because their financial affairs are more complex. They usually pay upwards of £300.
2. Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) are not the same thing
Many people think that LPA is just the new name for EPA, but there’s more to it than that. Enduring Power of Attorney was the system in place before LPA’s came out in 2007. But EPA’s only covered financial decisions, whereas LPA’s can also cover health and welfare decisions. If you made an EPA before the system changed in 2007, it’s still valid and can be used, but if you’ve now decided you’d like it to also include health and welfare issues, you can take out an LPA to cover those decisions as well.
3. If you have a joint bank account, it could be frozen if you don’t have an LPA
If the person you share the account with has dementia and has lost mental capacity, it’s really important you have an LPA. Without it, you could lose access to your bank account and be unable to pay bills etc. This is because the law is designed to protect vulnerable people (ie, those who have lost mental capacity) so you must have legal authority to access their funds, even money that you jointly own.
4. You might not have to pay the full fee
The basic fee for an LPA is £82, (basically an admin fee) however this could be reduced significantly or even waived completely if the person you care for is receiving certain benefits, such as housing benefit, council tax reduction/support or the Guaranteed Credit element of State Pension Credit. You could also be eligible for a 50 per cent reduction in the fee (you’ll pay £41 instead of £82) if your loved one is working but has a gross annual income of £12,000 or less.
5. LPA ends the day someone dies
This means that if your loved one dies, and you were their attorney, you will instantly lose any legal authority to make decisions for them. This shouldn’t be a problem, providing they had a Will in place because the responsibilities you had as an attorney will simply be passed on to whoever is named as executor of the Will. However, if they don’t have a valid Will, the whole process can become much more complicated and time consuming. So, it’s important that the person you care about has made a Will giving instructions about what they want to happen.
Did you know?
When someone dies, their attorney has to notify the Office of the Public Guardian of the death, send them a copy of the death certificate, the original LPA and all other certified copies.
6. You could be entitled to a refund
The fee for an LPA used to be £110 but was reduced to £82 in April 2017. If you registered your LPA or EPA between April 1 2013 and March 31 2017 you can claim back part of the application fee you paid. The amount of money you receive, will depend on when you paid your fee but will probably be in the region of £34-£54.