What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document which allows you to appoint one or more individuals as your attorneys to deal with your affairs in the event that you are no longer able to make such decisions for yourself or, in the case of your finances, where you decide you would like someone to help you with the on-going management of your affairs.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives you the opportunity to retain control of your finances as it is you who makes the decision about who should be appointed to deal with such matters. The powers you give to your attorney can be used at your discretion, such as if you are unable to physically act yourself or if you would like someone to help you in dealing with your affairs as you get older. The powers will also remain in force if you are no longer mentally capable of dealing with these matters for yourself and can no longer give your instructions about how to act.
Health and Welfare LPA
A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to appoint someone who you trust to make decisions about your medical care and physical well-being limited to circumstances when you are no longer able to speak up for yourself, so you know who will be making these decisions for you when you no longer can. It is also possible to give your attorney in a Health and Welfare LPA the authority to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment on your behalf.
When and Why Should I Make a LPA?
LPAs can only be prepared while you are well enough to understand the documents that you are signing and therefore need to be thought about carefully, ideally long before they are actually needed.
If you do not put an LPA in place and you are no longer able to deal with your affairs, an application has to be made to the Court of Protection to sort out your affairs. This is a costly and time-consuming exercise and could lead potentially to someone being appointed to manage your affairs who you would not want to have such control over your assets.
Having an LPA in place is like having an insurance policy - hopefully, you will never need to use it but you can rest assured that if you do need help in the future, as a result of accident, illness or old age, everything is in place to ensure that you will be looked after without delay or unnecessary additional stress.
Refunds on Lasting Power of Atttorney Registration Fees
With effect from 1 February 2018, the Ministry of Justice have announced that it is possible to claim a refund for the Lasting Power of Attorney registration fee if you registered a Lasting Power of Attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017. Interest may also be paid on the amount owed to you and this applies to both Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney applications made during the relevant timeframe.
The reason for this refund is because the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian reduced as more people applied to register a Power of Attorney and the process became more efficient, but the application fee charged was not reduced in line with this until 1 April 2017.
The amount you can claim back will depend on the date of the application but is typically between £45 and £54.
In order to make a claim, you must either be the person who made the Power of Attorney (the donor) or an attorney appointed in the Power of Attorney.
There are two ways to make a claim:
- You can claim online in a very quick and simple process. To do this, you will need to visit https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund and click “claim a refund online”.
- Call the refunds helpline on 0300 456 0300 and choose option 6. If the donor has already passed away, the claim has to be made by phone.
Once a claim has been made, it can take up to 12 weeks to be processed but once approved, the refund will be made direct to the donor’s bank account.