Think Elderly when Making or Reviewing Lasting Powers of Attorney

Published / Last Updated on 04/11/2022

Prompted by discussions with a client this week, we urge you all to think ahead when arranging your Lasting Powers of Attorney or if you have already made yours then perhaps now is the time to review them.

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney in England and Wales: 

  • Health and Welfare
  • Property and Financial

Whilst you are of sound mind and body you appoint people to look after your health and/or your wealth in the event of you not being able to due you physical or mental incapacity.  You appoint people that you want to look after your affairs, a certificate provider e.g., doctor, financial adviser, lawyer signs to certify that you are under no duress and of sound mind when appointing your attorney(s).  This is then sent to the Office of the Public Guardian to be registered.  There is usually a fee for this unless you are on benefits or a low income.

Thinking Ahead

The clients that we spoke with this week made their Lasting Powers of Attorney in 2011.  At the time, they were in their mid 60s, fit, healthy and travelling widely as they enjoyed their retirement.  The problem was that they did not think ahead when makings their LPAs.  They appointed:

  • Each other as sole attorney.
  • Their daughter as reserve attorney only.

The problem is that mother and father are both over 75 now and starting to slow down, both physically and mentally.  This means that if either one of them or both loses their capacity, the daughter cannot act until one of them dies as the daughter is only a reserve attorney unless they approach the Office of the Public Guardian to take control and this may involve protracted dealings with the OPG, doctors and more.

Appoint Someone Younger

Always appoint a younger full power of attorney if you are appointing your partner of a similar age rather than appointing them as a reserve.  By doing this, you have thought ahead.  Do not think about what you are like today when making your Lasting Powers of Attorney, imagine you are in your 70s, 80s or 90s and plan your appointed attorneys.

Need To Change Your Lasting Powers of Attorney?

  • You need start again and make a new LPA application and change or appoint new attorneys.  Make sure at least one is younger than you and likely to be able to act for you if you lose capacity.
  • Send your application form and fee (if applicable) to the Office of the Public Guardian.  Currently, according to the OPG, this will take 6 weeks just for them to open your application and start to deal with it.
  • To fully process your application, the OPG quoted us up to 20 weeks to approve and register the LPA and bank the payment.
  • This means it could be a staggering 26 weeks i.e., 6 months before your new LPA is registered and in force.
  • Do not destroy your old LPA until your new one is registered and returned to you.
  • You are now able to share newer LPAs digitally with interested parties such as banks, pension and investment providers, and health care professionals.  See: LPA Sharing

Remember, think ahead, think like you are in your 70s, 80s or 90s with LPAs.

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