How to Use a Lasting Power of At­torney?

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Catrin, UK Solicitor
31/08/2023 ● 5 minutes
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In times when you have to make im­port­ant de­cisions in life, it’s very im­port­ant to have a plan in place. This is where the need to use a Lasting Power of At­torney or LPA, comes in.

Lasting Power of At­torney (also known as LPA)  allows you to ap­point someone you trust to make ne­ces­sary de­cisions on your behalf. This is usu­ally the case when a person is unable to do them by them­selves due to ill­ness, ac­ci­dent or de­mentia.

In this post, we’ll un­cov­er the pur­pose of LPA, when it is ne­ces­sary, to whom the doc­u­ment is for and how to use LPA in prac­tice.

De­fin­ing LPA and Its Pur­pose

Before we dive into the world of leg­al­it­ies, let’s un­der­stand first what LPA is all about, es­pe­cially in UK.

LPA or Lasting Power Of At­torney is a legal doc­u­ment that allows an in­di­vidual in the UK to ap­point someone they trust to make de­cisions if they are unable to do so. We call those in­di­vidu­als donors and the person they trust at­tor­neys.

This can happen under cir­cum­stances where a person cannot do the de­cision-making due to phys­ical or mental in­ab­il­ity. The pro­cess guar­an­tees that the client’s business or af­fairs are handled prop­erly with the best in­terest in mind.

In the UK, There Are Two Main Types of LPA:

  1. Prop­erty and Fin­an­cial Af­fairs
  2. Health and Wel­fare LPA

As the name sug­gests, Prop­erty and Fin­an­cial Af­fairs refers to hand­ling the donors’ fin­an­cial mat­ters. The re­spons­ib­il­it­ies may in­clude paying bills, selling, in­vest­ing, and many more on their behalf.

Mean­while, Health and Wel­fare LPA covers making de­cisions about the donor’s health and wel­fare. This can in­clude medical treat­ments, living ar­range­ments and other per­son­al mat­ters. Let’s dig deeper into this type of LPA as we move for­ward to dis­cuss more of it below.

⚠️ Without LPA, the Court of Pro­tec­tion ap­points a deputy, who takes care of your fin­an­cial and per­son­al af­fairs. Read more about deputy­ship.

Read more: Lasting Power of At­torney – Guide

Re­mem­ber to Ac­tiv­ate the LPA For Health and Wel­fare

Before starting to use the LPA, it is im­port­ant to ac­tiv­ate the doc­u­ment. To ac­tiv­ate the Lasting Power of At­torney for health and wel­fare, you have to com­plete the re­quired doc­u­ments with the Office of Public Guardi­an.

Once the LPA has been added suc­cess­fully, users will have the option to share the de­tails with third-party or­gan­isa­tions by gen­er­at­ing an access code.

You can find our de­tailed step-by-step guide on how to ac­tiv­ate a Power of At­torney for Health and Wel­fare.

Using Lasting Power of At­torney in Prac­tice

When an at­torney starts using a Lasting Power of At­torney (LPA) in prac­tice in the UK, they need to follow spe­cif­ic steps to ensure that the LPA is ac­cepted and they can act on behalf of the donor (the person who made the LPA). Here’s what they need to do:

1. In­form­ing Fin­an­cial In­sti­tu­tions and Other Parties

The at­torney needs to inform all rel­ev­ant parties that they will be acting on the donor's behalf. This in­cludes banks, build­ing so­ci­et­ies, pen­sion pro­viders, and any other fin­an­cial or medical in­sti­tu­tions rel­ev­ant to the donor's af­fairs.

2. Provid­ing Copies of the LPA

The at­torney often needs to provide a cer­ti­fied copy of the LPA to each in­sti­tu­tion before they will allow the at­torney to act.

Each party may have dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments for how they want the LPA presen­ted:

  • Phys­ical Visits: Some in­sti­tu­tions may re­quire the at­torney to visit a branch in person with a hard copy of the LPA. They may also re­quire ad­di­tion­al forms of iden­ti­fic­a­tion both for the at­torney and to con­firm the iden­tity of the donor.
  • Elec­tron­ic Sub­mis­sions: In­creas­ingly, in­sti­tu­tions accept elec­tron­ic copies of the LPA, es­pe­cially if it's been re­gistered di­git­ally. This can be fa­cil­it­ated via email or an online portal, but spe­cif­ic pro­ced­ures vary by in­sti­tu­tion.

3. Using the LPA

Once the in­sti­tu­tions have ac­cepted the LPA, the at­torney can start making de­cisions and man­aging af­fairs as out­lined in the LPA doc­u­ment.

The scope of their ac­tions should strictly adhere to what is spe­cified in the LPA, whet­h­er it per­tains to health, wel­fare, fin­an­cial, or prop­erty mat­ters.

4. Record Keep­ing

At­tor­neys are re­quired to keep de­tailed re­cords of all de­cisions made and ac­tions taken on behalf of the donor. This in­cludes fin­an­cial trans­ac­tions, medical de­cisions, and any other sig­ni­fic­ant acts.

These re­cords may need to be presen­ted to the Office of the Public Guardi­an upon re­quest or in the case of a dis­pute.

5. Ad­her­ing to the LPA's Terms and Con­di­tions

The at­torney must always act in the donor’s best in­terests and within the scope of au­thor­ity granted by the LPA. They must not exceed the powers given in the LPA and should con­sult the doc­u­ment to ensure com­pli­ance.

Prov­ing You Have An LPA

After suc­cess­ful re­gis­tra­tion to the Office of Public Guardi­an (OPG), your at­tor­neys now gain the au­thor­ity to make de­cisions on your behalf. Now, you may be won­der­ing, how do I prove I have Lasting Power of At­torney in the UK?

Once re­gis­tra­tion is com­plete, LPA will bear a per­for­ated stamp on the bottom of the front page. This in­dic­ates that it is valid and also shows the re­gis­tra­tion date. You can also prove that the copy of the LPA is genu­ine by ob­tain­ing a cer­ti­fied ver­sion if you are still able to make de­cisions on your own.

💡 The copy can be used if ne­ces­sary if you do not have the ori­gin­al doc­u­ment at the time being.

Have You Cre­ated Already an LPA?

Using a Lasting Power of At­torney should come easy once the need arises.

Typ­ic­ally, LPA ap­plies during the fol­low­ing situ­ations:

  1. Plan­ning For The Future. Any in­di­vidual, as long as the person meets the cri­ter­ia for draft­ing, can choose to create an LPA to plan ahead for the future.
  2. De­mentia or Cog­nit­ive impair­ment. If a person was dia­gnosed with de­mentia or other con­di­tion that may affect their mental ca­pa­city, cre­at­ing an LPA is ne­ces­sary.
  3. Ac­ci­dents or Ser­i­ous ill­nesses. Any of the two can lead to tem­por­ary or per­man­ent in­ca­pa­city. Hence, an LPA can help avoid legal and fin­an­cial com­plic­a­tions.
  4. Old Age. It can be chal­len­ging to manage af­fairs in­de­pend­ently as people age. So, cre­at­ing an LPA en­sures that at­tor­neys carry out their wishes.

💡 Have you cre­ated Lasting Power of At­torney for yourself? Anyone can get sick or have an ac­ci­dent. Lasting Power of At­torney helps your loved ones to take care of your per­son­al and fin­an­cial mat­ters.

Create a Lasting Power of At­torney Today

Over­all, having a Lasting Power of At­torney in the UK is a smart move for plan­ning your future. This also pro­tects your loved ones' in­terests.

Just keep in mind that, LPAs must be taken care of while the donor is still able to do so. This en­sures that their af­fairs are in safe hands, es­pe­cially during chal­len­ging times.

So, take time to pre­pare ahead if you think it's about time to do it. Take ad­vantage of the peace of mind LPAs can provide to you and your loved ones.

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