The advice we give at Higgins Miller is always based upon delivering the very best for our clients. We specialise in family law, dealing with matters such as divorce and civil partnership, children disputes and wills and probate. In all cases we aim to combine technical legal advice with the emotional support people need at what is often a very difficult period of their life. The decision to take any kind of legal action is one which we know people don’t take lightly. That’s why we offer lasting power of attorney guidance which is delivered in an accessible manner, using the kind of clear language which is easily understood even by people with no experience of the law.
The lasting power of attorney guidance we give is based upon our extensive experience of working in the field and on an understanding of how serious taking a step such as this actually is. Lasting power of attorney is the name for a legal document which names a person or persons who can make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. This is known as ‘lacking mental capacity’ and could happen as the result of an accident, illness or simply the onset of old age.
Our lasting power of attorney guidance can be delivered on the basis of both types of lasting power of attorney. These are ‘health and welfare’ and ‘property and financial affairs’. The aspects of your life which can be covered by each type of lasting power of attorney are as follows:
Health and Welfare
- Going to live in a care home or sheltered accommodation
- The medical care you receive
- Any treatment required to sustain life
- Simple matters of daily life such as eating, washing and getting dressed
Property and Financial Affairs
- Claiming applicable benefits or a pension
- Selling a property
- Paying regular bills
- Administrating a bank or building society account
An individual can take out either or both of these types of lasting power of attorney. The process of making a lasting power of attorney can be broken down into three steps. The first of these is choosing an attorney or attorneys, the second is filling in the relevant forms and the third is registering the whole of the process with the Office of the Public Guardian. At each stage of the process it is vital that you seek the lasting power of attorney guidance offered by Higgins Miller, as any kind of mistake – whether in choosing your attorneys or making the arrangement official – could have a massive negative impact on your life for many years to come. In simple terms, the three stages of taking out lasting power of attorney involve the following:
Choosing an Attorney
The attorney you choose has to be over 18 years of age. They do not have to be a British citizen or living in the UK to be appointed, although a person who is bankrupt or subject to a Debt Relief Order can’t be made an attorney to deal with property and financial affairs. The person could be a professional such as a lawyer, a spouse or partner or simply a relative or friend. In all cases the choice should be made carefully on the basis of whether you trust the person to make the best decisions on your behalf, whether they show competence when it comes to arranging their own affairs and if they would be happy to act as attorney for you. It is possible to choose more than one attorney, although you must then decide whether they can act individually or only if they agree on decisions. The power of attorney can be set up so that some decisions can be made individually, and some only if all attorneys agree on them.
Making a Lasting Power of Attorney
The forms required for a lasting power of attorney can be filled in online or as paper forms. In both cases, the forms must be signed by the attorneys themselves, witnesses and a ‘certificate provider’ who confirms that you are making the lasting power of attorney voluntarily and with a firm understanding of what it implies.
Attorneys can act as witnesses to each other’s signatures but not to your signature, and they also can’t sign as the certificate provider.
Registering a Lasting Power of Attorney
The forms to make a lasting power of attorney need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Before doing this, you need to send an LP3 form to notify people of your decision to the ‘people to notify’ who are listed on your lasting power of attorney form. These people will then have 3 weeks to raise any objections they might have. If the forms were filled in online they can be registered online. If not, they need to be posted to the following address:
Office of the Public Guardian
PO Box 16185
The fee for registering a lasting power of attorney is currently £82, which will be charged for both a health and welfare and a property and financial affairs power of attorney, although exemptions are made for people on certain benefits or with a low income.
If you require lasting power of attorney guidance, or have any questions about the process in general, please call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected]. We’ve recently passed our Cyber Essential accreditation, something which demonstrates our forward thinking attitude and determination to remain ahead of the competition. We’ll provide a 20 minute appraisal free of charge, and we’ll offer a first appointment for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.