If you want to create a Lasting Power of Attorney you will need to know which forms to fill in and what to do next.
The following guide looks at which Lasting Power of Attorney forms you will need to complete and how the whole application process works in practice.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint trusted people to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are finding it difficult or impossible to manage your own affairs.
These decisions can relate either to your property and finances, or to your health and future care.
When you create a Lasting Power of Attorney you are officially known as the ‘donor’, whereby the people that you appoint are referred to as your ‘attorneys’.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be limited to when you no longer have mental capacity or, alternatively, in some instances it can be used immediately with your permission, even when you still have the ability to make your own decisions.
What are the Lasting Power of Attorney forms?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one for dealing with decisions about your property and financial affairs, and another for decisions relating to your health and care.
Each type of LPA has its own form: LP1F and LP1H. These can either be completed online or in a paper format. The two types of Lasting Power of Attorney forms are dealt with in turn below.
Lasting Power of Attorney Form LP1F: financial decisions
Form LP1F can be used to give another person, or persons, the authority to manage your finances, or make financial decisions, on your behalf.
This could include, for example, making withdrawals from your bank account to pay household bills. It could also include other more significant matters such as making a decision as to whether to sell your property in the event that you move into a care home.
The form for these types of financial decisions comprises 15 sections, some mandatory and some optional. Under the mandatory sections you will need to provide your own personal details, together with the details of your appointed attorneys and certificate provider.
A certificate provider is an independent person required to sign any Lasting Power of Attorney forms to verify that the donor understands what s/he is signing and that they have not acted under any pressure.
Where you have appointed more than one attorney, you will need to select how your attorneys make decisions for you, ie; on their own or unanimously.
You will also need to decide when you would like your attorney(s) to start making decisions on your behalf, ie, straight away or only when you lose the ability to make your own decisions. Please note that a financial LPA can be used as soon as it’s registered, but only with your permission.
Under the optional sections on the form, you can specify any preferences, or even give exact instructions, as to how you would like decisions to be made by your attorney(s). You can also create a list of people to notify of your intention to register an LPA, by way of safeguard, so that they may raise any concerns on your behalf.
Lasting Power of Attorney Form LP1H: health and care decisions
Form LP1H can be used to give another person, or persons, the authority to make decisions about your health and future care. This could include anything from day-to-day matters such as diet or daily routine, to whether you should stay in your own home or move into residential care.
The form for health and care decisions again comprises 15 sections requiring, amongst other things, for the donor to provide their own details, those of their appointed attorneys and how the attorneys should make any decisions.
On the whole, the two types of Lasting Power of Attorney forms closely mirror each other, with many of the same mandatory requirements in either case. However, a Lasting Power of Attorney for any health and care decisions can only be used if, and when, you become unable to make your own decisions.
Given the importance of these types of decisions, Form LP1H specifically asks you to decide whether or not to give your attorney(s) the authority to consent to, or refuse, life-sustaining treatment on your behalf.
Submitting the Lasting Power of Attorney Form: what is the application process?
The Lasting Power of Attorney forms can be downloaded from the government or an online application can be completed on the website for the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
If you wish to create both types of LPA, ie; in relation to both your finances ‘and’ your future care, you will need to complete and submit both Lasting Power of Attorney forms.
The form(s) will need to be completed and signed by the following people:
- The donor
- The attorney(s)
- The certificate provider.
These signatures will also need to be independently witnessed.
Once completed, you will need to submit, or post, your Lasting Power of Attorney forms to the OPG. The postal address is as follows:
Office of the Public Guardian
PO Box 16185
Birmingham B2 2WH
You will also need to pay a fee of £82 per form for the LPA(s) to be registered by the OPG, although a reduction or exemption can apply for those of you on a low income or benefits.
What is the Lasting Power of Attorney registration process?
Before a Lasting Power of Attorney can be used it must be registered by the OPG, typically using Form LP2. Further, Form LP3 must be sent to anyone listed as people to notify. These individuals will have a short window of opportunity, just 3 weeks, to raise any concerns about the LPA before it is registered.
However, the registration process itself can take up to 8-10 weeks during which time the LPA cannot be used. A Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered before your attorney(s) can begin to make any decisions on your behalf.
What are the risks involved with an LPA?
A Power of Attorney is something that many people only consider as they get older, with the increased possibility that age and infirmity may lead to diminished mental incapacity.
That said, unforeseen events such as accident or illness can strike at any time. By having a Power of Attorney in place you can significantly ease the emotional strain on your loved ones in the event that they ever need to manage difficult decisions, such as whether or not you should receive life-sustaining treatment.
However, extreme caution should always be exercised in selecting whom to appoint as your attorney(s). Needless to say, given that your attorney(s) will be legally authorised to make important and life-changing decisions on your behalf, you should only appoint someone that you know well and can trust completely.
Is it important to seek legal advice?
When creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, very often time is of the essence, not least where the donor is facing the imminent possibility of serious illness, and unfortunately, the associated loss of mental capacity that may accompany that.
A Lasting Power of Attorney will need to be signed while you still have mental capacity. Further, you cannot use the LPA while the registration is still pending, a process that can take several weeks.
Although, your attorney(s) can register a signed LPA on your behalf, if mistakes have been made this could void the application altogether.
By seeking expert legal advice, you can feel reassured that the potential for mistakes will be minimised, and you will obtain application and registration approval in the quickest time possible.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law and should not be treated as such.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission.
Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.