There may come a time when, because you are incapable of managing your property and financial affairs, you will need someone to do this for you. You can formally appoint a friend, relative or professional to hold a Power of Attorney that will allow them to act on your behalf.
If you lose mental capacity, unless you’ve already filled in the Power of Attorney forms, your loved ones will need to apply through court to become ‘deputy’, this is a long and expensive process.
By setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), you can nominate a relative or trusted friend before you lose capacity. Under the LPA you can appoint one or more representatives to act for you and can determine how they work together to make decisions on your behalf.
You may be thinking “This doesn’t affect me, I’m perfectly well”. This is a common misunderstanding. The key thing to remember is…
You can only set up a Lasting Power of Attorney when you have mental capacity. Once you’ve lost capacity, it’s too late.
Health and welfare lasting power of attorney
Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:
- Your daily routine, for example; washing, dressing, eating
- Medical care
- Moving into a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment.
It can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.
Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney
Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
- Managing a bank or building society account
- Paying bills
- Collecting benefits or a pension
- Selling your home.
It can be used as soon as it’s registered, with your permission.
Make a lasting power of attorney
You can make your own LPA without employing a solicitor or LPA specialist, we have included the information on how to do this along with a guide to the current costs of using a legal representative.
You can make a lasting power of attorney yourself or for another person online or by using paper forms.
Either way, you need to get other people to sign the forms, including the attorneys and witnesses. You can get someone else to use the online service or fill in the paper forms for you, for example; a family member, friend or solicitor.
You must register your LPA or your attorney will not be able to make decisions for you.
It takes up to 20 weeks to make an LPA if there are no mistakes in the application. It’s usually quicker if you make it and pay online.
Make an LPA online
Create or sign in to an existing account to:
- Make an LPA
- Continue making an LPA that you’ve already started
You can then:
- Get help and guidance at each step
- Save your forms and complete them later
- Review your answers and fix any mistakes
You need to print out the forms and sign them when you’ve finished.
You can begin this process by visiting this link:
Use a Printed Form
You can download blank forms for manual completion from;
Signing the forms
You need to sign the forms before you send them off. They also need to be signed by:
- The attorneys
- A ‘certificate provider’, who confirms you’re making the LPA by choice and you understand what you’re doing
Everyone must sign the same original document. They cannot sign copies or use digital signatures.
Who can be a witness or certificate provider
Witnesses and certificate providers must be 18 or over.
Attorneys can witness each other sign, but they cannot:
- Witness you sign
- Sign as the certificate provider
You cannot be a witness if you’re the person appointing an attorney.
How much does a Power of Attorney cost?
There’s a compulsory cost of £82 to register a Power of Attorney (in England and Wales – it’s £83 in Scotland, £151 in Northern Ireland). If you earn less than £12,000/year though, you can provide evidence to pay a reduced fee of £41. Those on certain benefits are exempt from fees.
In Scotland or Northern Ireland?
In Scotland, there are three Powers of Attorney: one for financial matters, called a continuing Power of Attorney; one for personal welfare, a welfare Power of Attorney; and a combined Power of Attorney that covers both continuing and welfare, which is the most common.
For full details, see the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) and Alzheimer Scotland’s Money and Legal Matters guides.
For Northern Ireland see NIdirect’s Power of Attorney info.
How much does a solicitor charge for power of attorney?
The charges for a Power of Attorney will increase when you use a solicitor. Typically, these charges for power of attorney can start at £400 plus VAT 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.
What about using a Power of Attorney specialist?
As with solicitors, you can use an organisation whose role is in creating the power of attorney. The power of attorney charges in this case usually start around £250 and can go up to £1,000 for particularly complex cases.
While every effort’s been made to ensure this article’s accuracy, it doesn’t constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. We can’t assume responsibility and don’t accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it. If in any doubt contact a Solicitor.