Lasting Powers of Attorney will enable those you trust and avoid the expense and delays that will occur if you lose capacity and your family has to apply to the Court of Protection for authority to manage your affairs before you pass on.
I have experience using the latest electronic forms and am a Professional Certificate Provider for Lasting Powers of Attorney. The Government has provided over 40 pages of advice to accompany the latest forms. Many people find these unwieldy so I have made a précis which, while it cannot cover everything, addresses the main points. This Lasting Powers of Attorney Guidance summary can be viewed as a webpage or downloaded as a pdf (5 pages) for printing.
There are 2 types of LPA one for Health & Welfare and the other for Property & Financial Affairs. Business persons can make 2 of the latter so one is for domestic matters and the other manages their companies for them.
Your Health & Welfare LPA only becomes operational once you have lost capacity, but you can authorise a Property and Financial LPA as soon as it has been registered; this is useful if you have trouble getting out and about. Your attorney must make every effort to allow you to make a decision yourself; they have to act within the bounds of the Mental Capacity Act.
So to make a LPA you need to choose those you trust and you may opt for different people for Health & Welfare to Property and Financial Affairs. Clearly a Bankrupt or the like may not deal with your Finances. You may appoint more than one Attorney for any LPA but if they have to make joint decisions they must agree unanimously and make them together. If they are appointed jointly and severally each may act individually or they may choose to act together. It is normal for a Donor (the person making the LPA and giving the power to another) to appoint Replacement Attorneys so the LPA is less likely to fail. You may choose to notify up to 5 people that you are making an LPA. These can lodge factual or prescribed objections to the LPA and may provide a failsafe.
So to make a LPA you (the Donor) need to have the capacity to grant the power. You need a Certificate Provider to confirm you are making the LPA of your own free will; at least one attorney (the forms provide space for 4) and witnesses to the event. You may opt to appoint replacements in case your first choice attorney cannot act so as to prevent your LPA failing at the first hurdle and people to notify of the event.
You must decide how much authority to give your attorneys. You may give them absolute discretion, or may include written preferences or written instructions. You may opt to require them to make all decisions unanimously (jointly) or allow each to make binding decisions for you (jointly and severally).
If you lose capacity and do not have LPA in place; your family will have to apply to the Court of Protection; this costs £400 + £500 if a hearing is needed in court fees. This process may take up to 6 months.
In comparison the Office for Public Guardian charges £82 to accept each application for an LPA and it will be ready when registered. An LPA grants you the power to decide who will look after your health and finances and make key decisions on your behalf. If you make these reasoned decisions now (dementia affects one in three persons aged 65 or over) you will be reassured and so will your family. The Lasting Powers of Attorney application to the Office for Public Guardian usually takes about 3 months, so it is best to start the process at least 6 months before you may need the LPA to be in place.
LPA Consultants charge £250 per individual to assist with both LPAs; very few complete one but not the other.
If you wish to explore the process further I can be contacted by telephone, by email and by post; the first 30 minutes of opening meeting will be taken as free of charge.