Frequently Asked Questions –
Private Client

Do you have questions about Wills, Probate, or Lasting Powers of Attorney?

Explore some of the most frequently asked questions we encounter below.

Private Client FAQs

What is a lasting power of attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a vital legal document that enables you (donor) to appoint someone (attorney) to act on your behalf. It grants authority for decision-making when you are unable to do so yourself.

An LPA is invaluable for planning ahead and ensuring your wishes are respected by a trusted representative. This includes crucial matters such as:

  • Financial affairs
  • Property management
  • Future healthcare choices
  • Personal welfare considerations

To create an LPA, an individual must be 18 or older and possess the mental capacity to make this decision. The individual the LPA is set up for is referred to as the donor.

The individual selected to make decisions on behalf of the donor is called the attorney. The attorney must also be over 18 years old and must possess the mental capacity to serve as an attorney.

What are the different types of LPAs?

Understanding the two distinct categories of LPA is essential:

  • A health and welfare LPA
  • A property and financial affairs LPA

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to designate individuals to make personal decisions on your behalf, including decisions regarding medical treatment, care, and residence.

A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) typically pertains to managing the Donor's assets, including their house, bank accounts, and shares. It provides continuity in decision-making even if the individual loses mental capacity later on. Moreover, individuals who own a business or has an interest in a business can utilise an LPA to designate a capable individual to handle business decisions during their absence or incapacity.

What are the steps involved in making an LPA?

  1. Contact us– Arrange a face-to-face appointment with one of our experts. You will be provided with detailed advice and your instructions will be taken.
  2. Preparing your documentation – We will draft the lasting power of attorney documentation in accordance with your instructions.
  3. Signing the documentation– After we have prepared your documentation, you will be invited for a second face-to-face appointment to ensure all the information is correct before you sign the forms.
  4. Registering your LPA – When the documentation has been signed by you, your certificate provider and your attorneys, we will arrange for it to be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian.

How long does the lasting power of attorney application process typically take?

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), responsible for processing LPA forms, has communicated that waiting times for LPA applications may extend up to 20 weeks for processing.

How can an LPA attorney assist with health and welfare decisions?

Contrary to common belief, next of kin do not inherently gain decision-making authority in such situations. If you're unable to decide for yourself, your doctor assumes this responsibility based on what's deemed best for you.

Unlike a Property and Financial LPA, a Health and Welfare LPA comes into effect only when you lack the mental capacity to make these decisions independently.

By creating a Health and Welfare LPA, you appoint a trusted individual(s) who understand your preferences to act on your behalf. Your appointed attorney is obligated to act in your best interests when making such decisions.

How can an LPA attorney assist with property and financial decisions?

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA empowers someone you trust with the ability to navigate crucial financial matters on your behalf through a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This versatile legal tool grants authority over key decisions, including:

  • Facilitating property transactions
  • Managing various financial accounts
  • Handling welfare benefits and tax credits
  • Overseeing tax obligations
  • Addressing outstanding debts

Tailoring the LPA to your specific needs is paramount. Whether granting full authority over all financial affairs or only specific responsibilities like bank account management or property transactions, meticulous drafting ensures clarity for the appointed attorney.

Registering your Property and Financial Affairs LPA is a vital step towards activation. Unlike conventional beliefs, activation doesn't hinge on mental capacity loss. Once registered, the LPA immediately empowers your chosen attorney to commence decision-making, irrespective of your current mental state. However, if immediate activation isn't desired, the LPA can be drafted accordingly.

Notably, the LPA must encompass provisions for decision-making in the event of mental capacity loss, offering comprehensive protection for your financial interests.

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