Ask The Legal Expert: Do I Need a Law Firm to Make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
- AuthorRebecca Danks
"My mother wants to give my step-sister and me authority to deal with her financial affairs. We need a fairly simple document and there are templates available that would work for us, I think. Are these legally sound?"
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows a person to choose one or more people, known as Attorneys, to handle their affairs in the event that they can no longer do so themselves. This can be both in relation to property and financial matters as well as health and medical decisions. An LPA is an important and powerful document and it is vital it is prepared correctly after careful consideration.
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) receives on average 67,000 LPA applications each month and around 15 percent of these contain mistakes. These mistakes can sometimes prevent the LPA from being registered, which can be disastrous if the person making the LPA (known as the Donor) has already lost mental capacity by the time the LPA is sent to be registered with the OPG. In that case it is possible that a separate application for a Deputyship will be needed, which can be time-consuming, complex and costly.
Mistakes in an LPA can lead to delays and additional costs to rectify errors. This can be stressful for the person making the LPA and their family. Common errors can include signing the application in the wrong order or administrative errors that you might not consider, such as using Tippex, pencil or photocopies. Legal professionals prepare these applications every day and are experts at avoiding the pitfalls which lay people can fall into.
Also, before you get to the point where you are preparing legal documents it is vital that you get expert advice about what would suit your needs, the needs of your mother, and the particular make-up of your family. We would always talk through the LPA application in depth and give tailored advice to ensure you fully understand what an LPA means and how it can be set up. We often find that people would have chosen to set their LPA differently had they received full advice beforehand.
For more information contact Rebecca on: 01446 771742 or email: Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation. This content does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only.
Welsh is spoken in JCP Solicitors’ Cowbridge office.