Rarely is there a more sensitive time within a family than when someone close is unable to make decisions for themselves. Commonly we think of ageing parents but this could also happen to the younger generation should they suffer an accident or illness.
Arguably the second most important financial planning document after a will is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) form, which should be submitted and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in order to hand over control of your finances to someone you trust.
LPA replaced Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in October 2007, although any EPA established before 2007 remains valid. As the bureaucrats never like to make things simpler, the four page EPA form was replaced by a 25 page LPA form.
The repercussions of not having power of attorney in place can be that when decisions need to be made on behalf of another, the bureaucratic challenges and emotional consequences can be significant.
The cost of registering an LPA form is £120 and the form can be downloaded from the Office of the Public Guardian website. In completing the form there are fundamentally two important questions to answer; who you want to act as your attorney and how broad would you like their authority to be. You may wish to get a solicitor to help you complete the form itself.
The LPA must be registered before it can be used and it’s worth listing other individuals who you want notifying of the application. It’s easy to think of an LPA being something for seniors but it remains an important consideration for all.
Note that the rules are different in Scotland. For more information about making an LPA in England and Wales, visit www.publicguardian.gov.uk. For Scotland, visit www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk.