Should I Wait Until I am Unwell before Arranging Lasting Power of Attorney?
Quite the contrary!
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) must be arranged whilst you have the mental capacity to make and understand your own decisions.
Informal agreements with banks, building societies, doctors, hospitals, solicitors, etc., are a thing of the past. This is also the case for informal resuscitation and life support wishes. If an individual acting in any professional capacity takes instruction from anyone who does NOT have official authority to act on behalf of someone else, that professional individual stands to be subject to legal proceedings if they make a mistake. Therefore, professionals and institutions are now understandably reluctant to act upon any unofficial and informal instructions.
If LPA has not been arranged and a person loses their mental capacity, a representative (usually a family member) must apply to a Court in order to obtain limited decision-making power on behalf of the patient. This can take many months, even into years, and usually costs anywhere between £365* and £865* for limited permission to make one single decision. To obtain limited permission to make continuing decisions, this usually costs between £830* and £1,315* initially PLUS ongoing annual costs of between £335* and £620*. The variance between these figures is due to the specific nature of each application.
*Figures correct as at June 2020.
Having LPA in place before a person loses their mental capacity will avoid all the above time and financial constraints thereafter.
There are 2 different types of LPA.
Property & Financial Affairs LPA which, as you have probably deduced, allows a person or people of your choice to take over this aspect of your life if you lose the capacity to deal with such matters. An example of when this would be important is when 2 people co-own a property. If one of the co-owners loses their mental capacity and as a result, the house needs to be sold in order to purchase a more appropriate property to cater for an illness, or the house needs to be significantly altered for the same purpose, without a Property & Financial Affairs LPA in place the co-owner who retains mental capacity would have to follow the court process as stipulated above. With this LPA in place, the co-owner can then officially act on behalf of their co-owner (subject to the involvement of an appropriately qualified Conveyancer during the exchange of contracts and completion of a property sale).
Health & Welfare LPA allows a person or people of your choice to take over this aspect of your life if you lose the capacity to deal with such matters. An example of why this is so important is when someone requires long-term care. Unfortunately, many people are refused NHS funding for their care even though they are entitled to it. Without Health & Welfare LPA in place, if a patient has lost their mental capacity, they will not be capable of appealing against an incorrect refusal of NHS funding. However, if attorneys have already been legally appointed, they can then appeal against such a refusal for funding as if they are the patient. They can also make a fresh application for NHS funding on the same basis.
The standard cost to set up both LPA through TRF
is £264, which includes a maximum court fee of £164.00. Please see our Pricing information on this site for further details about reduced court fees and exemption from court fees.