When does lasting power of attorney take effect?
The donor has a choice of when the LPA should take effect.
The donor can choose invoking it automatically on registration. Alternatively, they can let it take effect after they have lost mental capacity.
I always advise the first option, because it is safer.
You should register your LPA immediately, because it guarantees the protections of the document.
When Should I Register a Lasting Power of Attorney?
An unregistered LPA is as useful as a bucket bailing out the Titanic.
An unregistered LPA is nowt but expensive paper.
Your unregistered paperwork is useless.
Send your completed documents to the Office of the Public Guardian, OPG with the applicable registration fee.
The OPG’s address is:
Office of the Public Guardian
PO Box 16185
You should register your lasting power attorney today.
When does an LPA expire?
An LPA does not expire as such.
Once the deed has been granted, the document is valid till one of three things occurs.
First, donor (the person granting the power) revokes the deed.
Secondly, the Office of the Public Guardian revokes the deed or restricts the powers.
Finally, the document becomes void when the donor dies – you might need the LPA paper work when applying for a grant of probate.
Why do I Need an LPA?
Normal people recognise that illness, sickness or mere old age could leave you needing others to make decisions or act on your behalf.
With a lasting power of attorney, you can grant powers to specific people to act on your behalf. Here’s a case of someone who wish they had lasting power of attorney, but, they didn’t.
A lasting power of attorney must be set up now, while you have the mental capacity.
Can a married couple get a joint LPA?
The parties to a marriage are treated as two individuals, so each of them would get a separate document.
No, you can’t get a joint LPA.
There is no such thing a joint lasting power of attorney. However, the lasing power of attorney may be required to manage jointly owned assets.
What is the OPG’s Role?
The Office of the Public Guardian, OPG has two fundamental roles:
- The OPG registers all lasting powers of attorney.
- If the OPG believes the attorney’s actions are against the donor’s interest, it may take action.
When do the Attorney’s Powers Begin?
In property and financial affairs LPA, the attorney may (after the documents have been registered) act if:
- The donor asks the attorney to act on their behalf, or
- When the donor loses mental capacity to make the decision in question .
The donor is not to be treated as lacking mental capacity just because they make unwise, foolish or dangerous decision. After all, you and I make unwise dangerous and foolish decisions every day of the week.
Bankruptcy bars an attorney from acting – you would have to give up the role by informing the OPG.
Whan Can an Attorney Do?
Subject to any restrictions, conditions or guidance (otherwise known as instructions and preferences) as may appear in the Power of Attorney, you will be able to make almost all the decisions about property and financial affairs that the donor would have made. These are the sort of decisions you and I make in our respective lives today: such decision would include:
- The operation of bank and building society accounts
- Making and managing investments
- Claiming, receiving and spending pensions, benefits and allowances
- Management of household finances and payment of care bills
- Property purchase and sale
- Legal and financial advice
Special rules apply to property sales if:
- the sale is at a discount, or
- if the attorney is the buyer, or
- the property would have passed to a specific beneficiary in the donor’s will.
What Can’t an Attorney Do?
- Things the donor did not do, including – give assets, make gifts, or donations to new parties
- Engage in inheritance tax planning
- Sell property at a discount
- Change the donor’s will
- Anything the donor wouldn’t reasonably have done
- Anything not in the donor’s interest
How Many Attorneys Should I Appoint?
At least one.
Appointing a sole attorney is unwise. Should the attorney be unable or unwilling to act, the entire arrangement collapses.
How Attorneys Act – Jointly & Severally
I liken attorneys acting jointly and severally to my girlfriend and I running a credit card account jointly. The card issuer’s hardly interested that I buy gourmet chocolate and sliming pills, less interested if my lady friend buys first edition books. The card issuer’s only concern is that the account is not abused, and payments, including interest, is paid as due. In short,
I am taking responsibly for my lady’s spending, as she is for mine. We don’t have to be in the same room or hall at the time of the purchase. We are responsible for each other’s actions.
When two or more attorneys are appointed jointly and severally, any one of the attorneys may make decisions, and all the attorneys would be responsible for the action..
How Attorneys Act – Jointly
When several attorneys are appointed jointly, they all have to agree before any decisions are made.
What Financial Compensation can an Attorney Claim?
Only a professional such as an accountant, estate planner, or professional deputy may charge for acting as an attorney.
A lay attorney may claim only out of pocket expenses such as travel costs, telephone and postage costs.
What Gifts can an Attorney Make?
The attorney may only make gifts such as at birthdays and traditional festivals that the donor had a demonstrable history of making.
Such gifts must be in proportion to the donor’s assets and similar value to previous gifts.
Gifts to charities that the donor made could be continued.