How making an LPA can save your loved ones time, money and stress

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Wills on Friday, June 12th, 2020

Many people believe that if a family member was unable to manage their affairs, they would automatically be allowed to step in and make decisions in their loved one’s place. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This misconception can mean that families are faced with time-consuming and expensive court proceedings when their loved one needs them most.

What is an LPA?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you (the ‘donor’) to appoint a person or people (the ‘attorney(s)’) to manage your affairs if you are no longer able to, either permanently or temporarily. There are two types of LPA:

  1. The Health and Welfare LPA, which covers medical and personal welfare decisions; and
  2. The Property and Financial Affairs LPA, which covers decisions relating to your money and property.

An LPA must be made while you still retain the capacity to make these decisions.

What happens if I don’t have an LPA?

If you lose mental capacity and don’t have an LPA in place, then the Court of Protection will step in and appoint someone as your deputy. A family member or friend can apply to be your deputy, but the process is often expensive and time-consuming (taking between six months and a year). It involves a great deal of administration, can cost much more, and your deputy will have more restricted powers than an attorney.

Not having an LPA in place doesn’t just have consequences if you become mentally incapacitated. During the pandemic, many people have been forced to self-isolate, or have been hospitalised after contracting the disease, leaving them physically unable to manage their affairs. This could have serious implications for your finances – especially if you’re a business owner. If you were to fall ill, having an attorney ready to manage the financial aspects of your business, sign important documents and make other key business decisions could significantly reduce your stress at an already difficult time.  

What are the costs involved in applying for deputyship?

Firstly, your friend/family member will have to pay a £365 application fee to the Court of Protection at the beginning of the process. If the court decides the case requires a hearing, this will result in significant fees and costs.

Once a deputy has been appointed, they’ll be obliged to pay an annual ‘supervision fee’, which may be up to £320 per year.  

Property and financial affairs deputies are also required to pay an annual ‘security bond’, the amount of which will vary according to the value of the assets they are looking after and managing.

What is the difference between attorneys and deputies?

The process of appointing an attorney is much quicker, taking around two to four months on average. It’s also cheaper: you’ll only pay an £82 registration fee per LPA and legal fees.

However, the main and most important difference is that an attorney is chosen by you before you become vulnerable, giving you a say over who will make key decisions. On the other hand, your friends and family can only apply to become your deputy once your have lost capacity, and the individual eventually appointed by the Court of Protection may not be the person you would have chosen.

An attorney can also step in, with your permission, to manage your affairs when you haven’t yet lost capacity but need temporary help. This is not an option with deputyship. Having an attorney primed to take over also avoids the ‘twilight zone’ between you losing capacity and the appointment of a deputy, which could cause your family and friends a huge amount of stress.

Years of expertise

Here at Attwaters Jameson Hill, our specialist team is on-hand to assist you in drafting an LPA. Our lawyers have years of experience and, during the current health crisis, can be instructed via Skype, Zoom and Facetime, as well as by telephone and email – so there’s no need to delay. Just get in touch at lpa@attwaters.co.uk or call 0330 221 8855.

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