Can I make my Lasting Power of Attorney myself?

shu-gen-Lasting-Power-of-Attorney-118517884-1500x1000You can make a Lasting Power of Attorney yourself, but for peace of mind, let an experienced solicitor assist you with making a Lasting of Power of Attorney, as the subsequent consequences if it is deemed invalid are not worth the risk.

According to the World Health Organisation, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 will increase from 12% to 22% between 2015 and 2050. This startling statistic reveals that people worldwide are living longer – which can be deemed as a positive revelation but also draws light on the fact that with ageing comes a range of challenges, including mental health-related illnesses that are increasingly common nowadays.

If you have been diagnosed with dementia or a similar degenerative disease, it is crucial to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) as soon as possible. This legal document means that you are protected by someone you trust when your condition progresses – allowing them to make decisions in your best interests. Although it is possible for you to make your own LPA, our experienced solicitors advise that you employ our trusted services to ensure that your wishes are respected.

What is an LPA?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document, which expresses who should act on your behalf and manage your affairs when you lack the mental capacity to do so. The person (attorney) you select needs to be responsible, trustworthy and over 18 years old.

It is possible for anyone over the age of 18 to make an LPA at any time, but you must have the mental capacity to understand the implications and the effect of the document that you are creating. If you do not make your LPA before you lose capacity, the process of managing your finance and welfare will become more complicated, lengthy, expensive and stressful for your loved ones.

Two types of LPA

There are two different types of LPA:

  • Property and Financial Affairs LPA, which gives your attorney (the person you choose to act on your behalf) the power to make decisions for you in terms of your money and property. With this LPA, your attorney can act and start paying your bills, selling your home or collecting your pension in the event that you cannot do so yourself.
  • Health and Welfare LPA, which means that your attorney has the power to make decisions pertaining to your welfare – such as your dressing, eating and washing habits as well as your medical care. Your attorney can only start making any health or welfare decisions for you when you lack the capacity to do so or under specific circumstances.

Our dedicated solicitors only want the best for you, and advise that both LPAs are made at the same time. You must also choose attorneys whom you can trust completely, as they have to do what is right for you when you cannot make a decision for yourself. Making the right choice of attorney can really help you to face the natural progression of your condition with the confidence that you will be looked after and given the security that you need.

How can you make your own LPA?

You are able to make your own LPA, get it signed and witnessed before making an application to the Office of the Public Guardian, or you can do it online via the website. However, you should take into consideration that without the support and direction of a solicitor, it is incredibly easy to make costly legal mistakes, especially if you are not familiar with complex legal jargon presented in the form.

Common LPA mistakes

Like most legal documents or processes, unless you have the guidance of a solicitor, they will be quite tricky to comprehend and complete effectively. LPAs are often deemed as invalid due to common mistakes such as being vague on life-sustaining treatments, using the wrong form, not signing in the proper order, not being witnessed or making the unlawful compulsory.

When making your own LPA, you will have to decide how many attorneys you want to appoint, and if you want them to act jointly or jointly and severally.

  • Jointly: All attorneys must agree. This option can seem like a good idea, but if one attorney passes away, it means that no one can act on your behalf and your LPA becomes null.
  • Jointly and severally: Your attorneys make decisions together or on their own. Many people prefer this option as it alleviates the risk of losing one of the attorneys. However, there are potential pitfalls in cases such as you wanting to split your business and personal affairs between two attorneys.

LPAs cannot be taken lightly, and having a solicitor by your side means that you will make wise and legitimate decisions.

The importance of employing the services of a solicitor

Employing the assistance of a professional solicitor to help you make your LPAs is highly recommended, particularly if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Once you have received your diagnosis, do not put off making your LPAs any longer.

Apart from LPAs, having a will is so vital. If you do not already have a will in place, our solicitor can help you draft one. Once your will has been implemented, we will advise you on making LPAs that will benefit you and your loved ones down the line.

Let Romain Coleman help you make your LPA

Having a valid LPA in place is an essential step towards securing your future. When deciding whether or not to make your LPA yourself, you should consider the severe consequences of making a mistake and how this will affect your loved ones.

To put your mind at ease, consider using one of our dedicated, supportive and expert elderly care solicitors. Our professional solicitors will do everything to ensure that the people you trust the most will make decisions on your behalf when you no longer can.

Contact our experienced team of dedicated solicitors on 0208 520 3322 or via our Contact Form.

This article was first published in 2016 and has been updated on 31/07/19.

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This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.