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Lasting Powers of Attorneys or LPAs let you choose someone (an attorney) you know and trust to make decisions for you when you can’t make them for yourself. The choice to make a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA shouldn’t be taken lightly because when they are invoked, LPAs give your attorneys control over your healthcare and financial affairs.

The forms necessary to register your LPA are not straightforward and completing LPAs should never be seen as a simple tick-box exercise. Our priority is to take your detailed instructions and ensure that your LPA fits your needs. We’ll explain how to choose your attorneys, clarify how you can restrict the powers you give to your attorneys and help you decide whether your attorneys can take decisions for you alone or whether they need to act jointly.

Frequently asked questions

What are the two types of Lasting Power of Attorney?

Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney in 2007. There are two types.

A Health and Welfare LPA enables your attorney(s) to manage your day-to-day care, including your medical care and, if it becomes necessary, to organise moving you into a care home. You can include specific directions for your attorney about lifesaving and life-sustaining treatment.

The Property and Finance LPA lets your attorney deal with your finances, to pay bills for you, buy and sell property and deal with your other assets.

You can make both LPAs at the same time or choose to make only one type of LPA. Our solicitors can provide you with all the information to make the decision that’s right for you. In our experience some people opt for a Property and Finance LPA only. Instead of a Health and Welfare LPA they choose to make an Advance Decision or Advance Statement which gives specific instructions to medical professionals about major health decisions.

How much does a Lasting Power of Attorney cost?

LPAs are administered by the Office of the Public Guardian (the OPG). Fees are reviewed at regular intervals and are set by the Government – although it’s possible to apply for a reduction in these fees if you meet certain criteria. You can compete LPAs yourself and apply to register them at the OPG. Note however that a large percentage of LPAs are returned by the OPG each year because of errors or unclear information. This is one reason why many choose to use a solicitor to complete and register the LPAs on their behalf.

At DMH Stallard we charge a reasonable fee to provide specialist legal advice on LPAs and compete the documentation. Often, we do so as part of a wider package of advice on wills, inheritance, succession planning and related matters.

Do I need an LPA?  

LPAs are all about future planning, and you should consider making an LPA well before you think you may need an attorney to act for you. There’s a misconception that LPAs are for elderly and vulnerable people only.  This isn’t the case. If you run a business or have a family, it’s always a good idea to think about the unexpected. Making comprehensive LPAs – that you can review at any time – is one aspect of this kind of future planning.

How long does it take to make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Once you have completed the documentation it can take up to four months for the registration process to be competed, if there is a backlog, it can take considerable longer . Unlike some parts of the UK like Northern Ireland where registration of your LPA is only necessary when you lose capacity, in England and Wales your LPA is not effective until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

How long does a Power of Attorney last?

Once registered your LPA lasts indefinitely. You may of course revoke the LPA if you change your mind – but only if you retain the mental capacity to make such a decision.  The LPA will also come to an end if your attorneys themselves lose mental capacity or are removed by the Court of Protection for some reason. In addition, if your spouse or civil partner is your attorney and you divorce or dissolve your partnership the LPA will come to an end. Finally, Financial LPAs are terminated if your attorney becomes bankrupt.

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Emma Weir
Sarah Kench

Recent work

Advice on mitigation of inheritance tax

We provided technical advice to clients with several million in assets and a substantial annual income. We advised on ways to substantially mitigate a potential inheritance tax liability of close to £1million. Steps we advised our clients to take included giving substantial gifts to family members on a regular basis to avoid the accumulation of surplus income in their estates and to insert specific provisions in each will to reduce exposure to inheritance tax.

Estate administration

Historically the deceased, used big name City law firms for some of his personal work. However, he chose to instruct DMH Stallard to draft his will and the executor has chosen to use us to administer the multimillion-pound estate because of our local knowledge. The breadth and depth of experience means we can deal sensitively with many of the internationally high-profile people who benefit under the will, or who are involved in the deceased’s estate.

Acting as Deputy for an individual with dementia

DMH Stallard were asked to manage the affairs of someone with dementia who had lost their mental capacity, were unable to manage their affairs and continue to live independently. DMH Stallard Trust Corporation applied to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their Deputies. There was no extended family or close friends. We found a suitable residential care home for them that specialised in dementia care and sold their property, taking financial advice to ensure there were sufficient funds to cover their care home fees and general living expenses.

Wills and Estate Planning advice

We provided estate planning advice to a married couple aimed at maximising allowances available to their estates. Specifically in this case we arranged for the wife to gift her residence nil rate band (RNRB) to the children in an attempt to bank relief because she had assets of a lower value than her husband. We maximised asset protection by incorporating a flexible life interest trust (FLIT).

Administration of a high net worth estate.

Historically the deceased, used big name City law firms for some of his personal work. However, he chose to instruct DMH Stallard to draft his will and the executor has chosen to use us to administer the multimillion-pound estate because of our local knowledge. The breadth and depth of experience means we can deal sensitively with many of the internationally high-profile people who benefit under the will, or who are involved in the deceased’s estate.

Advice on post-death variations of will and tax relief

DMH Stallard advised the executors of an estate where the deceased had assets held within a company registered at Lloyds. DMH Stallard successfully claimed Business Relief over various assets within the estate. We also advised the executors on a deed of variation which was successful in securing a reduction in the inheritance tax payable,

Lasting Power of Attorney

We often prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney as part of our overarching private client service, encompassing advice on wills, trusts, inheritance tax planning and succession planning. It’s an area of our practice that demonstrates the way we link various specialisms across the firm to enhance the service we deliver to clients.

Power of Attorney Advice

We provided advice and support to a lady in her 90s with frailty and early stage dementia. The PoA ensured that when her dementia progressed to the stage she could no longer make decisions for herself that one of her daughters would make all decisions in relation to her financial affairs and health and welfare. This was an important document that provided peace of mind and enabled the family to chose the care she received.

Advice on mitigation of inheritance tax

We provided technical advice to clients who were in their eighties with several million in assets and a substantial annual income. We advised on ways to substantially mitigate a potential inheritance tax liability of close to £1million. Steps we advised our clients to take included giving substantial gifts to family members on a regular basis to avoid the accumulation of surplus income in their estates and to insert specific provisions in each will to reduce exposure to inheritance tax.

Intervening to prevent client being pressurised into making investments

One of our long-standing clients contacted us as he was concerned that he was being pressurised to invest in a bond and to place his property in trust. We were able to assist the client in making his own decisions, explaining to him his own financial situation to allow him to plan for his future. We prepared a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney where the client appointed the DMH Stallard Trust Corporation as his attorney, enabling us to assist and support him to make and execute decisions whilst he retained mental capacity. Furthermore, the LPA allowed the firm to protect our client’s best interests following the loss of mental capacity.

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Enforcing possession orders – how not to do it

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