Delegate your voice…
Legally, you can have someone else to speak for you if you’re no longer able to do so.
You need to complete and register a Lasting Power of Attorney to give the person or people you trust the legal power to be your voice.
Why would I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Just now, people are very concerned about setting up Health & Welfare LPAs. This document, once registered, gives your chosen attorney(s) the legal status to speak on your behalf only if you are incapacitated and unable to do so.
Your Health & Welfare Attorney, who should be a trusted friend or family member, will be your voice in discussions with medical teams who must consider what they say as though it was you speaking.
Your Attorney will be legally obliged to follow any guidance you gave in your LPA about your wishes if there is a need for you to have life saving treatment. They also speak for you in respect of decisions about your general healthcare and wellbeing decisions if necessary.
They cannot spend money on your behalf; they must ask your financial attorney for permission to use funds to buy toiletries and other items relating to your care.
The second type of LPA relates to Financial Affairs. Your chosen attorney(s) can act at any time once the document has been registered so,if you need help with your finances immediately, then they can act on your behalf even if you still have capacity. If you prefer, you can specify in the LPA that they may only act if and when you lose capacity.
Your financial attorney has legal authority to speak to banks on your behalf, to deal with any accounts you may have – from credit cards to utilities – and to pay bills and call in any money owed.
For this reason it is a good idea to choose someone you absolutely trust for this role too, and you can give them guidance about how they should act in relation to your money management.
How much does it cost?
We can complete the paperwork for you, and send the LPA for registration.
Our fees for this process start at £325 per LPA. They are set out in full on our LPA webpage. You can find this here.
The registration fee set by the Office of the Public Guardian is £82.00 per LPA. There are some exceptions, which we explain on our LPA webpage.
While you wait
If you are concerned about making your wishes on medical treatment known now, or you need more immediate help with managing your finances, there are other short term things you can do while you wait for your LPAs to be registered. We will give you information and advice about these; please just ask.
How long does it take?
Once you are happy with the content of the document, we can act as your Certificate Provider. This means we talk to you, in private if at all possible, over the phone or by video call, to ensure that you are completely clear on what the document means and that you are happy about the decisions you are making.
Then you, the Certificate Provider, and the attorneys must all sign the document in person, and have your signatures witnessed. That can be time consuming, especially with the current social distancing rules, but we will provide clear instructions on how to do this efficiently and correctly.
When the paperwork has been completed and signed, it must be sent to the Office of The Public Guardian to be registered. This process usually takes 8 weeks, but there are likely to be delays at present. The LPA is not legally binding until it is registered.