Financial expert and consumer champion Martin Lewis has used the latest episode of his ITV show to encourage UK householders to invest in making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
In this week’s edition of The Martin Lewis Money Show (ITV, 21 November 2023), he explained: “One person in the UK develops dementia every three minutes. Yet relatives can’t just walk into a bank and access your money, even if it is to pay for your care.”
“Unless you have a Power of Attorney, loved ones would need to apply through court, which can be long and costly.”
What is an LPA?
An LPA is a legal document that allows an individual (the donor) to appoint someone they trust (an attorney) to make decisions or manage their affairs should there come a time that they are physically or mentally unable to do so themselves.
What are the main types of Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two main types of LPA:
- One relates to decisions regarding property and financial affairs, and
- The other covers decisions about health and welfare.
What happens if I don’t have an LPA?
Without an LPA in place, a relative’s loved ones must apply to the Court of Protection for a court order to access their finances and manage their affairs, which can be time-consuming and costly.
The show’s segment about the importance of LPAs was triggered by a letter from a viewer explaining the difficulties her mother had in accessing her father’s bank accounts when he developed dementia.
Writing into the show, the viewer warned: “My mum is deputy (via the Court of Protection) to my dad, who has advanced dementia. It’s a very long, drawn-out and quite intrusive process. It’s also expensive. Mum will have to pay hefty yearly fees, too.
“I just wish we’d managed to get Power of Attorney instead, when Dad was more capable.”
“He got ill very fast, and we couldn’t implement it.”
The viewer’s account illustrates the importance of making an LPA early in life. Martin Lewis explained how he has had an LPA in place for several years. “I’ve had a Power of Attorney since my thirties,” he revealed.
An LPA is a valuable legal protection that helps individuals of all ages and from all backgrounds. It can safeguard their future by putting in place provisions for what happens if they suffer from an illness or accident that means they lose mental capacity.
Capacity can be lost on a short-term basis, such as if you are unconscious or because of mental health problems, or permanently, for example, through an accident or if you are suffering from dementia.
LPAs only come into effect if and when a time comes that requires it.
This was a point emphasised by Martin Lewis. “So how does the Power of Attorney work? Well, you nominate a friend or relative to take over your affairs if you lose your faculties, IF. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up control now.
“I have, thankfully, no foreseeability of losing my faculties. No one takes control of my finances, I’m in control of it, but I have a Power of Attorney to do that,” he said.
Martin Lewis went on to explain how LPAs should be considered a crucial part of estate planning.
He said: “Look, I think in many ways, a Power of Attorney is more important than a Will, because if you die, you die, and the money is going to go on to other people and you won’t use it anymore.”
Anyone over the age of 18 with mental capacity can make an LPA.
How much does it cost to register an LPA?
Currently, forms must be printed and signed before being sent to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) for registration. In England and Wales, there is a compulsory cost of £82 to register a Power of Attorney with the OPG. However, a discounted rate of £41 is available to those earning less than £12,000 a year, and individuals on certain benefits are exempt from fees.
The forms can be complicated, and it is crucial to take care when completing the relevant documentation. Mistakes such as signing in the wrong order, missing and mixed pages, and unlawful requests are common, and errors can delay the process and add to the expense.
Lewis recommended that the best way to create an LPA is through a solicitor. “The best way, if you can, is to get a solicitor to do it,” he said.
How much does a solicitor charge to draft an LPA?
Our standard fees start from £648 including VAT per LPA. These include the preparation and submission for registration of your Lasting Powers by a qualified LPA solicitor in Hull, Grimsby, Lincoln, Louth, and Market Rasen. However, the cost, like anything, varies according to the amount of work involved.
At Bridge McFarland, we are dedicated to providing cost-effective legal services to our local community, and we will always ensure you are fully aware of all costs involved. We can provide a quote on enquiry once we have more information on your requirements.
Solicitors for Lasting Powers of Attorney Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire
Deciding to create an LPA is daunting, but our team of dedicated Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors at Bridge McFarland LLP will do all they can to make you feel at ease.
Our experienced team will advise you on the best and most appropriate LPA for you, depending on whether you want it for financial affairs or health and welfare.
To speak to us today regarding a Power of Attorney, please call 0800 987 8800.
For more information, click here.