Power of Attorney Solicitors
The possibility of losing the capacity to manage our personal affairs is something we should all consider, not only just as we grow older. In the event that you are not able to deal with your finances or make decisions concerning your health and welfare, not having a Power Of Attorney in place can have serious consequences. Without an appropriate Power of Attorney, your friends or family may not be able to help you or act on your behalf.
There are several types of Power of Attorney and it’s advisable that you have a solicitor to draft the right one for you, and that it’s kept up-to-date so that if the worst should happen, there’s peace of mind that you can be taken care of.
Coronavirus: guidance from our Wills, Trusts and Probate team
In these uncertain times, putting in place plans for the future is more important than ever. Barcan+Kirby’s Wills, Trusts and Probate team is still very much open for business to provide any help you need.
Our solicitors continue to assist clients who need help with Powers of Attorney, either by telephone, video call or, in some circumstances, by appointment at our offices. We have answered some FAQs here.
Due to the latest government guidelines, our team members are largely working from home. We may be able to offer face-to-face appointments within the offices by appointment only. It is not possible to visit you at home (or in hospitals, care homes and hospices). However, our Business Continuity Plan allows us to use technology to maintain our usual high standards of service.
Types of Power of Attorney
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
Enduring Power of Attorney documents gave Attorneys the authority to act on behalf of the person who made the EPA (the Donor), and make key decisions concerning their finances.
EPAs do not provide the Attorney with the ability to make decisions concerning Health and Welfare decisions. Since the introduction of Lasting Powers of Attorney you cannot make new EPAs, however, existing EPAs are still valid and Attorneys under EPAs should ensure that they know the extent of their authority and when to contact the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to keep them informed of the condition of the Donor.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to give your loved ones the legal authority to make key decisions about your finances, health and welfare should you be unable to do so yourself in the future.
LPAs can cover health and welfare issues, including medical care you receive and where you live, as well as property and finance issues, such as selling your home and managing your pension. You can decide exactly what decisions your Attorney will be able to make on your behalf, ensuring your needs will be met without giving away more control than you are comfortable with.
It’s advisable that you have a solicitor draft an LPA for you and the Power of Attorney will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to give it legal force, either by the person making the LPA or by a named Attorney when the time comes that the Power of Attorney needs to be used.
General Power of Attorney (GPA)
A General Power of Attorney is a limited type of Power of Attorney where the Donor appoints an Attorney to assist and make decisions for them concerning only a specific matter and for a precise period of time.
GPAs should only be used in limited circumstances and where no other option is appropriate. However, in the event that the Donor loses their mental capacity, the GPA will immediately be cancelled and the Attorney under this Power of Attorney no longer has the ability to assist.
How our Power of Attorney solicitors can help you
At Barcan+Kirby, our highly experienced lawyers can guide you through the entire process of creating and registering the most appropriate Power of Attorney for you. We also regularly advise Attorneys on the use of their powers and the actions they need to take to support their loved ones.
We are a Law Society accredited practitioner in Mental Capacity (Welfare), recognising our expertise in representing the needs of vulnerable clients. A number of our team are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), reflecting our skills and knowledge across a broad range of areas including protection of the vulnerable.
Our LPA solicitors are sensitive to the practical and emotional issues involved in representing vulnerable people in all matters related to their health and welfare. Our friendly, experienced team are experts at balancing the conflicting needs of the various parties involved and finding a positive way forward that protects the needs of the vulnerable person at the heart of the matter.
As well as offering strong expertise in Lasting Powers of Attorney, we can also advise you on applications to the Court of Protection where a loved one has lost mental capacity and did not make an LPA.
Get in touch with our Power of Attorney solicitors in Bristol
Our solicitors work with clients across the South West and further afield from our six offices in Bedminster, Bishopston, Clifton, Kingswood, Queen Square and Thornbury. To find out more about making a Lasting Power of Attorney, call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our simple online enquiry form.
Want to know how much creating an LPA might cost? Why not request a quote?
Request an existing Power of Attorney from us
To request a copy or the original of a Power of Attorney that was written by Barcan+Kirby, simply fill out this form and we will retrieve the document for you. You can request your own Power of Attorney or that of a friend or relative.
How much does a Lasting Power of Attorney cost?
Our prices for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are below. These prices include VAT.
- Single LPA and registration: from £595
- Two LPAs and registration: from £895
- Four LPAs and registration: from £1,225
There is a separate court registration fee of £82 for each LPA to be made payable to the Office of the Public Guardian. Your solicitor can provide further information on this.
An introductory guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney
What is a Donor?
A Donor is the person who makes the Power of Attorney authorising others to make decisions about their affairs for them.
What is an Attorney?
An Attorney is the person or people authorised to act for the Donor under the Power of Attorney.
Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney; Health and Welfare LPA, and Property and Financial Decisions LPA.
- A Property and Financial Decisions LPA can give your Attorney authority over decisions such as selling your home, collecting your pension, managing your bank account and paying bills.
- A Health and Welfare LPA can give your Attorney authority over decisions such as what medical care you receive, whether you need to be moved into a care home and your daily routine, e.g. washing, dressing and diet.
Exactly what type of LPA you need and what specific issues it should cover will depend on your personal circumstances, so it is important to carefully consider this with the advice of your lawyer before making a decision.
Enduring Power of Attorney registration
The process for registering an Enduring Power of Attorney is similar to that for an LPA and we will be happy to guide you through the process where required.
Choosing your Attorneys
Within your Lasting Power of Attorney, you can appoint more than one Attorney to manage your affairs for you. You can specify what level of authority will be granted to each Attorney and you can nominate a certain Attorney to act in a particular area on your behalf.
You can appoint someone at any time, even if you are capable of making the decision yourself.
If you choose more than one Attorney, you can either authorise them to work jointly or ‘jointly and severally’.
Attorneys working jointly must agree any decisions made on your behalf under the LPA.
Attorneys working jointly and severally can either agree the decisions to be made or act independently.
Registering your Lasting Power of Attorney
You can make an LPA at any time, provided you are mentally and physically able to make your own decisions. You can either then register the Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian yourself or the named Attorney or Attorneys can register the LPA when it is needed.
It’s worth noting that the registration process can be lengthy, typically taking around 8 to 10 weeks. We therefore recommend making and registering your LPA well in advance of when you might need it.
Before we can register your LPA, we must notify ‘named’ persons and give them the opportunity to object. These named people are anyone that the person creating the LPA (the ‘Donor’) has chosen to notify.
The Donor does not need to notify anyone if they choose not to, but it’s normal to notify close family, other dependants and anyone else who might have reason to object. This allows these potential objections to be resolved upfront, rather than leaving them to be a problem for your Attorney or Attorneys later.
We must also include a certificate to verify that you understand the contents of the LPA and how it operates, and you are not under pressure to make it.
Lasting Powers of Attorney FAQs
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney; Health and Care Decisions LPA (previously called Health and Welfare LPA), and Financial Decisions LPA (previously called Property and Financial Affairs LPA).
A Health and Care Decisions LPA allows you to nominate an Attorney to make decisions for you on things such as medical treatment. It can only be used if you lack the ability to make the decision yourself.
A Financial Decisions LPA can include decisions such as selling your home or paying bills. You can appoint someone at any time, even if you’re capable of making the decision yourself.
Lasting Power of Attorney replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney (‘EPA’) Act in 2007. Whilst still valid, registration of Enduring Power of Attorney will be needed if you lose the mental or physical capability to make decisions yourself.
Our specialist Will and probate solicitors can talk to you about your options and the process of registering your EPA.
If a loved one is suffering from dementia and has created an LPA that they have not registered, an Attorney named in the Power of Attorney can register it for them.
If a loved one with dementia did not create an LPA while they still had mental capacity, you may instead need to apply to the Court of Protection to become a Court of Protection deputy. This can empower you to make decisions about their health, welfare, property and finances as required, similar to an LPA.
Find out more about becoming a Court of Protection deputy.
If you have been contacted about the registration of a Power of Attorney, you can object to the registration depending on the circumstances. To raise an objection, you will need to contact the Office of the Public Guardian.
There are various potential grounds for opposing registration of a Power of Attorney, including where:
- The Attorney was married to the Donor, but they have since divorced
- The Attorney does not have mental capacity to carry out their duties properly
- You believe the Donor did not have the mental capacity to create an LPA
- You believe the Donor was pressured to make the Power of Attorney
- You believe the Attorney is not acting in the Donor’s best interests
If you are the Donor, you can have an Attorney removed from your LPA at any time while you still have mental capacity. You can do this by sending a written statement called a ‘partial deed of revocation’ to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
If you need to add a new Attorney, you will need to end your existing LPA and make a new one.
If a loved one has lost mental capacity and you believe someone acting for them under a Power of Attorney is not protecting the Donor’s best interests, you will need to contact the Office of the Public Guardian to report these concerns. We will be happy to advise you before you take this step to ensure your loved one’s best interests are protected.
Someone acting under a Property and Financial Decisions LPA will usually be able to make small gifts from the estate (e.g. for a relative’s birthday or wedding) but they should only make such gifts as the Donor would have ordinarily made and there may be inheritance tax implications that need to be considered.
If you need to make a larger gift not covered by the provisions of an LPA, you may need to apply to the Court of Protection to do so.
Contact our Lasting Power of Attorney Solicitors in Bristol
If you need to create, update or register a Lasting Power of Attorney or are looking for advice on discharging your duties as an Attorney, our friendly, expert team in Bristol can help. Call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our simple online enquiry form.