A lasting power of attorney (LPA) will only be valid if you are 18 or over and able to make decisions yourself at the time the LPA is set up (i.e. you have “mental capacity”). You must have entered into the LPA of your own free will and not been pressurised by someone to sign it. You must be able to trust the person you appoint on your behalf (your “attorney”) to act in your best interests since they will be making very important decisions about your life.
To set up the LPA, you need to do the following:
- Choose your attorney(s)
- Decide whether you need a personal welfare LPA and/or a property and financial affairs LPA.
- Complete the standard LPA form(s) to appoint your attorney(s).
- You need to ensure that you and your attorney(s) and relevant witnesses have signed the form(s). The LPA must be signed by a certificate provider who confirms that you understand it and haven’t been put under pressure to sign it. This must be someone you know well or a professional person, such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor.
- You need to complete form LP3 to notify the people you have listed in the LPA as needing to be told that you plan to register the LPA. They have three weeks to raise any concerns with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
- Apply to register your LPA with the OPG. This can take up to 10 weeks. If you do not register your LPA, your attorney will not be able to make decisions on your behalf. Your attorney can register the LPA for you if you wish.
- When registering your LPA, you need to pay a fee unless you are entitled to a reduction or exemption. The current fee is £110 to register each LPA. You may be entitled to a reduction or exemption if you are on means tested benefits or you have a low income.
It is important to ensure that the form is completed correctly, otherwise, this can result in a delay in your LPA being registered and you could incur additional fees to correct the mistake. If your circumstances are complicated, it is a good idea to seek legal advice before finalising your LPA.