Power of Attorney in the UK: Regulations and Rules

Uncertainty is the primary deterrent to the implementation of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). The timing may not be right or you may contemplate if it’s even necessary. Anyone wishing to ensure legal protection for their assets and well-being will absolutely find it necessary to secure an LPA.

But what is an LPA? What sort of control does it grant an individual? What are your options? How much does a power of attorney cost in the UK? We provide the answers to these questions and more. If you wish to cover yourself in case of a situation where you lose the mental capacity to make proper decisions regarding your assets and health, read on.

What is the Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney is legal permission granted by one individual to another individual, group, or entity allowing the management of estate on the grantor’s behalf. This is only legally viable should the grantor no longer be able to care for themself or if they have left the country where Power of Attorney has been granted.

Rest assured that the power granted is not absolute. The individual with Power of Attorney cannot seize the assets for themself. There are rules in place for what a Power of Attorney can and cannot allow. In order to understand what these rules are, we must first look at the types of Power of Attorney available.

Basic Power of Attorney

Your standard, run-of-the-mill Power of Attorney provides temporary control over assets such as bank accounts, property, and more. This control is only in place until it has been ceased or revoked, and is generally in place for a specific time frame. This type of Power of Attorney is best suited for short-term situations such as hospitalization or vacating the country on a trip. The application for a Power of Attorney will cost £82 in the UK. Additional fees will depend on what you require. Always get a quote.

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is continuous. This type of document remains in effect until it is either ceased on the donor’s behalf or until the donor has passed away. An LPA can have restrictions in place to prevent certain decisions from being overridden as instructed by the donor. The application, similar to a basic Power of Attorney, costs £82 in the UK. Additional fees apply based on necessity and who is advising you.

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is the former title for an LPA. An EPA can no longer be created but those already made prior to 1 October 2007, are still valid.

What Are The Types of Lasting Power of Attorney and What Can They Do?

There are two kinds of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): health and welfare (personal welfare) and property and financial (property and affairs). Each provides specific asset coverage and defined powers that can be granted.

Personal Welfare

When you “lose capacity” to take care of yourself, you can rely on a health and welfare attorney to make certain decisions. These decisions for the donor may include:

  • Where they will live
  • Received medical treatments
  • Personal care and daily routine
  • Life-sustaining treatment which includes a DNR
  • Other decisions that are based on what the donor may prefer

What a personal welfare attorney cannot do:

  • Make decisions on the donor’s behalf if the donor is still sound of mind
  • Restrict the donor’s freedom(s) based on their decisions
  • Insist on a doctor performing acts that do not benefit the donor

Property and Affairs

When you can no longer work due to illness or absence, a property and affairs attorney can help manage your assets and set up your wills and estate planning. These assets involve:

  • The purchase, sale, and rental of property
  • Home maintenance including damage repairs and bills
  • Bank accounts, savings, benefits claims, and investments
  • Pay taxes
  • Make charitable donations on the donor’s behalf
  • Purchase personal goods for the donor

What a property and financial affairs attorney cannot do:

  • Make decisions on the personal welfare of the donor
  • Benefit themself using the donor’s assets (take a fee, mix finances)
  • Purchase and/or sell assets below the market rate
  • Plan taxes without the Court of Protection’s authority

How Many Individuals Can I Grant Power of Attorney?

A donor can choose multiple people to hold Power of Attorney for whatever type they prefer. By splitting the decision-making, a donor can make life easier for each attorney. This is especially useful should one attorney decide not to continue for whatever reason, another can step into their place.

A successor attorney should be made for each Power of Attorney chosen. Should an attorney decide to step down without a successor, then Power of Attorney cannot be transferred. A new Power of Attorney will have to be made, starting over from square one.

What Do I Need To Complete an LPA?

There are steps you’ll want to take in order to properly complete an LPA. The first step is to select who to appoint as your attorney(s). You can then decide if you need one or more attorneys, based on the different LPA types you plan on, as well as their successors.

Next, decide who you wish to notify once the LPA application is made to register. It is not necessary to inform anyone of your decision, however, it may be wise to notify those who are being granted primary LPA. During the registration process, you will need an independent person – not being made LPA  – to act as a witness providing a signature and address. They will also need to provide a certificate for Part B of the registration form.

Once the LPA has been completed, it will need to be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) in London. Any additional questions you, your attorney(s), and certificate provider(s) may have can be answered by the OPG.

What if I Don’t Want To Secure A Power of Attorney?

At the very least, wills and estate planning should be considered to ensure your affairs are looked after. To protect assets, you should look into placing all property into trust funds in the UK. In both cases, it is best to seek out a specialist and find out what options are available to you.

Power of Attorney cost in the UK varies based on your needs. If this is a deterrent to acquiring one, it may be best to seek counsel and receive a quote. In some cases, you may qualify for cost reductions.

Should I Create Power of Attorney?

The decision to register a Power of Attorney is entirely up to personal choice. Using the information gathered here, you should have enough insight to help you make the right choice for you.

It’s also possible that you may feel it’s too late to put an LPA in place. Appointing a friend or family member as a Deputy via The Court of Protection is also a valid option. Before making a decision, seek out professional guidance on the matter. Get a quote for Power of Attorney costs in the UK as well as what options are available to you.

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