The Power of Attorney form you will need to complete will depend on the type of Lasting Power of Attorney you are creating. These are Form LP1F for financial decisions and Form LP1H for health and care decisions.
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal way of giving someone else the authority to make financial and other decisions on your behalf in the event that it becomes difficult, or even impossible, for you to make these decisions for yourself.
This may prove necessary if you are physically struggling to manage your own affairs, for example, you are confined to the house, or you are no longer mentally capable of making your own decisions due to a disability, accident or illness.
A Power of Attorney can be a short-term arrangement to help you out temporarily, for example, where you need assistance with everyday tasks such as paying your bills. This is known as an Ordinary Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), on the other hand, can be put in place to be used in the event that you lose the mental ability to make your own decisions at any point in the future.
Further, an LPA can be used to appoint someone not only to deal with your financial affairs but also to make decisions about your health and welfare.
How do I complete the Power of Attorney form?
To create a Lasting Power of Attorney you can either use paper forms or complete the application online with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
There is a different form for the two types of Lasting Power of Attorney: Form LP1F for financial decisions and Form LP1H and for health and care decisions. If you wish to create both types of LPA you will need to complete both forms.
These forms will ask you to provide your name, address and date of birth, together with the following information:
- The names, contact details and dates of birth of the attorney(s) that you choose to appoint. You can also nominate other people in the event that any one or all of your attorneys are unable to act on your behalf.
- The name and address of a certificate provider, namely, an impartial person who will confirm that you understand the nature of the Power of Attorney and that you are not being forced into making it. This must be someone you have known for at least two years, or a professional person such as a doctor or lawyer.
- The names and addresses of any people to notify, ie; people who will be told when you or your attorneys apply to register your Power of Attorney. This optional requirement adds security, as notified people can raise concerns about your LPA before it’s registered, for example, if they think you are have acted under pressure.
You can also use the Power of Attorney form to tell your attorneys how you’d prefer them to make decisions or give them specific instructions that they must follow when making decisions on your behalf.
How do I submit the Power of Attorney form?
Once completed, you will need to submit your Lasting Power of Attorney form(s), together with the appropriate fee, to the OPG. This fee is currently set at £82 per LPA, although this may be reduced for applicants on a low income or waived for those on benefits.
If you are registering more than one LPA, for example, one for financial decisions and another for health and care decisions, the fee will be £164.
Prior to submitting your Power of Attorney form(s) you will also need to get various other people to sign the forms, including the attorneys and witnesses, as well as the named certificate provider. In this way you are creating a legal deed between you.
How do I register the Power of Attorney form?
The Lasting Power of Attorney will need to be registered with the OPG, typically using Form LP2, before it can be used and take legal effect. This process could take around 8-10 weeks, so it is always best to ensure that any Power of Attorney forms are completed well in advance of when they may be needed.
Your LPA cannot be used during the registration process. However, if prior to registration you lose your mental capacity but you have already signed the LPA, your attorney(s) can register it on your behalf.
A financial Lasting Power of Attorney can be used, with your permission, as soon as it’s registered, while a health and care LPA can only be used if you become unable to make your own decisions.
Before you register your LPA, those people who you listed to notify will first need to be sent Form LP3. They will then have three weeks to raise any concerns with the OPG. As soon as you have sent those forms, you can apply to register.
Please note that an Ordinary Power of Attorney does not need to be registered with the OPG, rather this is fully effective as soon as the donor has signed it. If you are looking to set up an Ordinary Power of Attorney, it is often best to seek legal advice to ensure that you use the correct standard form of wording.
What should I consider prior to completing Power of Attorney form?
Putting in place a Power of Attorney can give you the peace of mind that a responsible person is in charge of managing your affairs and making any important decisions on your behalf.
To create a Power of Attorney you should appoint someone you trust and know well, such as your spouse, partner, an adult child, a close relative or a long-standing friend.
Your attorneys don’t need special legal knowledge or training, but anyone you appoint must be aged over 18 and have the mental capacity to make decisions on your behalf. Equally, when you make a POA, you must yourself be aged 18 or over and have the mental capacity, at that time, to make your own decisions.
Please note that nobody can simply take a Power of Attorney, rather you have to donate it willingly. As the donor, you will decide whom to appoint as attorney(s) and, subject to continuing to have the mental capacity to do so, you can also cancel the arrangement at any time.
You can appoint a single attorney, or more than one attorney, electing whether multiple attorneys must always act unanimously, or whether simpler and urgent decisions can be made independently.
When creating a Power of Attorney you will need to give careful consideration as to the powers you want to give to those individuals whom you choose to appoint as your attorney(s).
By way of example, you may only want to give your attorney(s) the power to manage your bank and building society accounts and pay your bills, but not to make decisions such as selling your property or whether you should move into a care home.
Equally, you may only want any decisions to be made on your behalf if you lose the capacity to do so yourself. It is important that you understand what a Power of Attorney means and that you only appoint a person, or persons, who will act in your best interests at all times.
When should I seek legal advice about Power of Attorney form?
Taking professional advice prior to completing the Power of Attorney form can prevent problems later on, not least if you are unsure of the process and how it works.
When considering making a Power of Attorney, your legal adviser will take the time to understand the issues that really matter to you, providing tailored advice to suit your particular set of circumstances.
This can be especially important if your financial affairs or personal circumstances are complex, and you are looking to appoint a number of attorneys to make decisions in relation to various different aspects of your life, both now and in the future.
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.