Lasting Power of Attorney – is it the right choice for you?

Thu 7th Sep 2017

Worries about safeguards in the Lasting Power of Attorney system by a retired Court of Protection judge have sparked debate about the issue and its alternative – Deputies. Bernadette Polkinghorne, LPA specialist at Coodes Solicitors, looks at both options and discusses their benefits.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document that allows you to appoint someone (known as an attorney) to help make decisions or take decisions on your behalf. You can appoint a number of attorneys. They step in to make decisions for you if you have lost the capacity to do so, for example through a condition like dementia or a life changing accident.

There are two types of LPA:

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare which focuses on everything from the clothes you wear to the food you eat, where you live and the medical care you receive for example, decisions regarding your life sustaining treatment.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs would allow your attorney to act on your behalf with financial and property matters, including for example, managing bank accounts and house sales.

What is a Deputy?

A Deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection to act on your behalf if you have not made an LPA and then lose capacity to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of Deputies, the same as LPAs. They are appointed by the Court to fulfil that role and are usually close relatives or friends. The court can also appoint a Panel Deputy from a list of approved law firms if no one else is available.

What are the safeguards?

Thanks to Government promotion of LPAs, 2.5million people have registered the legal document with 650,000 applications made last year alone. An important safeguard is the requirement for someone, preferably a professional with relevant experience for example a solicitor, social worker or doctor, who can say they are satisfied that you have the capacity to make this legal document without any undue influence.

There is also the option for you to notify up to five people that you are making an LPA and detailing who you have appointed as your attorney. They can then contact the authorities if they believe you do not have the capacity to make this decision.

Deputies are supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian who will contact or visit to ensure they are carrying out their role effectively. An annual supervision fee must be paid and a security bond if appointed as a property and affairs deputy, which aims to protect the finances of the person you are supporting.

Which is best?

Everyone, whatever their age, health and circumstances, should appoint an LPA as you never know when you could be made incapable of making decisions for yourself. Relying on the Deputy system means you are leaving the choice of who will act on your behalf to the courts. And their decision may mean someone is appointed who you would not personally choose. Appointing a Deputy is also a timely and expensive process; the Court application fee alone is £400 whilst it can take around 4-6 months for the Court decision (the Order) to be received.

How much does an LPA cost?

Submitting one LPA form through Coodes costs £360 + VAT or £660 + VAT for two forms. But now the Ministry of Justice has made it easier for people to submit their own do it yourself LPA document online and although this may look like a way to save money, I would always recommend contacting a solicitor to discuss the issue.

Once an LPA is registered you can’t change it, you can only revoke it. So for peace of mind and for your wishes to be followed, speak with a solicitor to make sure you have submitted the document correctly.

For advice on Lasting Power of Attorney, contact Bernadette Polkinghorne in the Wills, Probate and Trusts team at Coodes Solicitors on 0800 328 3282 or email

Thu 7th Sep 2017

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