I’m sure you will agree that when it comes to finding out about lasting power of attorney costs and actually setting one up, it can get very confusing!
The key topics in this guidance article will help explain it all to you in a very straightforward way. This guidance applies for England and Wales.
In this guide you will find:
Lasting Power of Attorney, often referred to as Power of Attorney or LPA, is an important legal issue which is often discussed with a loved one during the later stages of the progression of illness or age-related incapacitation.
Power of Attorney costs are split into two parts. Firstly there are the application fees which is £82 per power of attorney. In addition there are the professional advisor costs, which start at around £400 if you use a solicitor or from £250 if you use a power of attorney specialist.
To submit the application you’ll need to pay a fee of £82. This charge applies per specific type of Lasting Power of Attorney. Therefore, to organise it to cover both Property and Affairs and Health and Welfare you’d need to pay £164 – More on this below.
If you need to make amendments or request a repeat application you will need to pay once again, but for repeat applications the fee is reduced by 50% to £41.
In addition, if you want to ensure you create your power of attorney correctly, we would strongly recommend that you seek the support of a professional. Getting it wrong can have significant implications for your loved ones at a later time.
On top of this there is the cost of Power of Attorney when it comes to using a legal specialist, which can either be a specialist or a lasting Power of Attorney specialist.
The charges for Power of Attorney will increase when you use a solicitor. Typically, these can start at £400 but depending on the complexity of your needs, can go up to £1,000. Often, the first conversation you have with a solicitor is free. However, you should confirm this at the start of each conversation.
We strongly recommend that you do seek the advice of a solicitor as they can ensure that the document is created accurately with no ambiguity. This is so important when the the power of attorney is actioned.
As with solicitors, you can use a company that specialises in creating the power of attorney. The costs usually start around £250 and can go up to £1,000 for particularly complex cases.
There are concessions and exemptions to some powers of attorney costs available – for example those in receipt of Income Support, Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or work-related Disability Benefit payments.
To find out whether you are eligible for a reduction or exemption from the power of attorney cost, you can speak to the Office of the Public Guardian for individual advice. They can also support you with the registration process.
Help and guidance can be obtained from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and you may be entitled to financial support from specialist funds and charities.
Typically, when you are are speaking to a legal advisor about setting up a lasting power of attorney it would not be unusual to also discuss other legal issues.
For example, this would be a good time to either make a Will or update it. Or, if you have some assets this is a good time to think about your estate planning and look legitimate ways in which you can reduce your inheritance tax (or rather your families bill!).
Therefore, if these topics are relevant to you, you should ask your solicitor to do these at the same time, as this should help reduce your overall costs. If you do this you should get a discount on the overall cost.
Firstly, beware about just going for the cheapest option, as you don’t want to get this wrong! We have agreed a special deal with Trust Inheritance whereby you can get a power of attorney set up from £395. Based on our research and experience, this is by far the best value solution we have seen.
The most important thing about creating a Power of Attorney is that it is addressed sooner rather than later, especially if you or a loved one are elderly or have been diagnosed with dementia or other mental illness.
This is because a Power of Attorney can only be applied for if your relative is deemed to have the mental capacity.
Here is also a short video we have produced that tells you all the key information you need about setting up a LPA.
A power of attorney in the UK in 2019 is a legal document which enables a nominated party (usually a family member) to make decisions and act on a person’s behalf should they lack mental capacity at any time.
In essence if you can’t manage your affairs then you can nominate someone else to do so on your behalf.
Although generally it is associated with finances (enabling the nominated party to withdraw funds and carry out banking and other financial responsibilities on behalf of the individual) there are actually two types of legal document in the UK.
One does cover the above, including the selling of property and guarding of assets, and the other covers health and care decisions – More information on this below.
Both are very important and must be set up properly under the guidance of a specialist such as an advisor or a solicitor. They can also help you understand the Power of Attorney price.
A Power of Attorney in the UK is only valid if the person consenting still holds the mental capacity to do so, and when they have not been pressured in any way.
It’s important to note that being a spouse or blood-related family member does not entitle you to make decisions on behalf of your relative and manage their affairs..
You will need a Lasting Power of Attorney in place to have the authority to make decisions for and deal with your loved one.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that you seek Powers of Attorney guidance when you are looking to set one up. It’s also good to know that you can appoint more than one attorney – so multiple family members and friends can be involved with your ongoing care should you wish.
We strongly advise you to seek the legal advice of a professional when it comes to setting up a Power of Attorney as they can ensure all the right documents are completed.
This will ensure it is all done correctly and that no mistakes are made. Any mistakes now could have significant consequences later down the line.s
We have built a directory of independent power of attorney solicitors and specialists that can help support you in setting one up. They can also provide any legal advice that is necessary,
You can find our directory of lasting power of attorney professionals here.
A common factor which contributes to the late implementation of a LPA is uncertainty – as many aren’t sure how they will know when the ‘time is right’ to explore the legal options to protect their relative’s future.
In fact, it really is necessary for anyone who wishes to ensure that they and their family are legally protected in case of mental incapacity.
It’s advisable to put both types in place so that all bases are covered in a situation where your relative is unable to make decisions for themselves – as this will enable you to spend their money with their best interests in mind and select a care home for them.
You can explore the options for a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) at any time, as long as your relative is mentally stable and fully consents to the signing of an LPA agreement.
Without the appropriate LPA in place you may find you are not able to make a choice on their behalf, and you won’t have access to their finances in order to make payments for care further down the line and other essentials.
There are, as discussed, two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney for England and Wales. These are:
You can choose to appoint a power of attorney for either both property and financial affairs and health and welfare, or just one, as you see fit.
If you are concerned that you may be mentally incapacitated in the future it is always advisable to cover all eventualities with full Lasting Power of Attorney provision.
A Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs involves the following responsibilities:
If you are considering a lasting power of attorney property and financial affairs, then we recommend that you carefully consider the above points above.
A lack of Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs could result in relatives being unable to access your money to buy things on your behalf or arrange your finances. They would also be unable to sell property or buy property if you required them to.
This is because legally your family member or friend is unable to step in and act on your behalf without a pre-agreed legal confirmation of their roles and responsibilities in place.
A Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare involves the following responsibilities:
A lasting power of attorney health and welfare is important to consider when going through this process.
Often these responsibilities go hand in hand, for example if you require care at home you will also need the means to pay for it – so a Power of Attorney UK with jurisdiction to decide on your care who also has access to your finances will easily be able to provide and arrange the care you need for you.
Without one or the other it may be more difficult.
This is why it is especially important to ensure that your Power of Attorney arrangement fully covers you.
You can also restrict the types of decisions your appointed attorney or attorneys can make – this is something you can explore and discuss with a solicitor or advisor when applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney.
You can read our more detailed guide on lasting power of attorney for health and welfare.
A power of attorney health and welfare is equally important.
Without one, decisions can be made regarding the type of care you receive, where you receive it and what medications and treatments you’ll get without you or your family’s explicit direction.
Although you and your family or loved ones will be consulted by medical staff and doctors caring for you, the final say concerning any health and welfare decisions will rest with the professionals.
Unfortunately many people only realise that they are able (or should) put a Lasting Power of Attorney agreement in place when it is too late.
In essence what it does is enable trusted family members or friends to act on your behalf – so if you don’t legally give them the capability to do so decisions will be made for you by others.
Loved ones may or may not have a say – but Lasting Power of Attorney grants them permission to actively suggest and carry out tasks for you as you would have wished.
Also, whilst you are planning your future, it is essential that you look at Estate Planning to ensure your affairs are looked after, particularly when it comes to mitigating any inheritance tax that may be due. In addition, when you did the person that deals with your affairs will apply for a grant of probate.
You can read our guide on the costs of probate here.
If you are looking at ways to protect your assets then you should look at putting your property in to a trust. These are the most popular types:
If you are thinking of using a Trust, then we cannot recommend strongly enough that you speak to a specialist in Trusts. Leave your details at the bottom of this page and we will arrange for a specialist to give you a call and see what options you may have available to you.
If you are reading this article and feel it may be too late to put a Lasting Power of Attorney agreement in place, there are other options available to you.
Although it offers significantly less control over an individual’s affairs and incurs an annual cost, family members and friends who wish to act on behalf of their loved one can apply to be appointed as their Deputy via The Court of Protection.
However there is no guarantee that Deputyship will be granted – and the fee for Deputyship can run into thousands of pounds per year.
Here is a short video that explains how the Court of Protection Works.
Although ‘DIY’ kits are available online, it is best to invest in the assistance of a specialist solicitor or advisor when looking at how to get a Power of Attorney agreement.
It is so easy to miss something and get it wrong, which means that your DIY approach will be invalid. For the sake of a few hundred pounds it is not worth the risk of getting it wrong as that will cost you thousands of pounds.
This ensures that it is legally binding and has been done in the best possible way, taking into consideration your individual requirements.
Lasting Power of Attorney costs are incurred, especially when a solicitor or advisor is involved in its implementation. However, we can say strongly enough, that this will be money well spent.
Lasting Power of Attorney applications for England and Wales are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. This is the government body responsible for protecting individuals who lack the mental capacity to look after and make decisions for themselves.
You can submit the application yourself, or your prospective attorneys can do so for you. Nobody can register a Lasting Power of Attorney without your agreement – and you will always be notified if one has been registered in your name.
This gives you an opportunity to accept or object.
Before you submit a Lasting Power of Attorney application, you should notify any family members, friends or other individuals whose interest it is in to know that a Lasting Power of Attorney has been made.
They will be named on the document itself as ‘people to notify’ and should be consulted prior to an application for LPA being made. This can be done by sending a special form for them to complete.
They will then have the opportunity to object or raise potential concerns with the Office of the Public Guardian, within a three-week window.
Applications can be completed and registered online or in writing. Once the application has been made it can take up to ten weeks to be processed, provided the information given is accurate.
You will need to consider all of the above when you look at how to get a power of attorney.
Broaching the subject can prove tricky for some, especially when their relative is defensive and misunderstands the true aim of a Power of Attorney agreement.
The real purpose, contrary to popular belief, is to protect the assets of the individual, and allow them to make decisions for themselves for as long as is possible.
Unfortunately misconceptions mean that many people still believe that it allows family members to unreasonably control their lives and finances, even without their express permission.
This is not the case, so it’s important to stress this and use government publications and easy to understand resources when explaining why you feel it is in your loved one’s best interests.
It’s also advisable to pick your time and setting carefully, and broach the subject sensitively. Remember that this concerns your loved one’s future, and it can be upsetting and frightening to discuss impending mental incapacity or a diagnosis which they haven’t fully come to terms with yet.
You can change power of attorney – but only if you or your relative has the mental capacity to do so.
If you wish to change your Lasting Power of Attorney arrangements (to appoint a new attorney, or change their responsibilities) you are required to submit changes via your solicitor or through what is known as a ‘Partial Deed of Revocation’ to remove a single person and/or replace them with a new attorney.
If you choose to do this because of misconduct or a breakdown in your relationship related to malicious, suspicious or deceitful conduct you can make a complaint via the Office of the Public Guardian’s safeguarding unit.
If you wish to end or change Power of Attorney, you will need to send what is known as a ‘Deed of Revocation’ to the Office of the Public Guardian. This is something you can do yourself, but it will need to be witnessed and signed. There may also be a cost of power of attorney if a change is made.
No changes can be made if there has been a significant deterioration in the condition of the person the Lasting Power of Attorney protects – which is why it’s so important to ensure that the documentation fully covers you from the start.
We strongly recommend that you also look at making a will at the same time as creating your LPA. Again, this is an issue that should be addressed early on, whilst you still have the mental capacity to do so.
If you require more guidance on a Lasting Power of Attorney, the cost, are unsure whether it is appropriate or would like to know if you are eligible you can firstly speak with your GP or social worker.
They will be able to give you an indication of whether you or your relative is mentally well enough for a Power of Attorney agreement to be put in place.
You can also seek support from charities such as Age UK and your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, who will be able to provide additional details of the agreement along with a list of organisations and solicitors who can help.
For further help and advice regarding the legal and financial implications of old age or ill health please take a look at our related articles and dedicated information pages on this site.
This content was first published by Susan Glenholme, the Managing Partner for Debenhams Ottoway.
As well as being managing partner and head of the private wealth team, Susan is recognised by Chambers and Partners UK legal directory, features in the legal 500, as one of the leading private client lawyers in the UK.
Susan can be contacted on 01727 735 636.