What is a Property and Finance Power of Attorney?

What is a Property and Finance Power of Attorney?

Completing our series on Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). Our last article looks at “What is a Property and Finance Power of Attorney?”, including.

ℹ️ What does it cover?

ℹ️ When can it be used?

ℹ️ Why do I need one? 

ℹ️ How Morecambe Bay Wills can help you

WHAT IS IT?

There are two types of LPA – one covering Health and Welfare, and the other covering Property and Financial Affairs.

 The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows attorneys to make decisions on the donor’s behalf about personal finances and property matters. This ranges from filling in forms and signing cheques, all the way up to selling a property. 

A Property and Financial Affairs attorney can make (or help the donor make) decisions about things like:

  • money, tax and bills
  • bank and building society accounts
  • property and investments
  • pensions and benefits

WHEN CAN IT BE USED?

A Property and Financial Affairs LPA, once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, can be used immediately, at some time in the future OR once the donor lacks mental capacity – this decision is made as part of the application process. However, it is useful to have in place early, so it can be used as and when needed. Decisions can then be made on the donor’s behalf if they are ill, unconscious or because of the onset of a condition such as dementia.

Before you can manage the donor’s financial accounts, financial institutions will ask you for the original registered lasting power of attorney (LPA) or a certified copy of it.  You will also need to provide proof of identification.

There are several safeguards in place to ensure that the Attorney is always acting in the best interests of the donor and you can be ordered to repay the donor’s money if you misuse it or make decisions to benefit yourself. The Office of the Public Guardian Safeguarding team oversee this.

WHY DO I NEED IT?

If you are in an accident or become incapacitated through an event such as a stroke, or are diagnosed with an illness such as Alzheimer’s, you may not be able to make important decisions, so it is essential to have someone who can act on your behalf. 

If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you may have assumed that your spouse would automatically be able to deal with your bank accounts and pensions, and make decisions about your finances, if you lose the ability to do so. This is not the case – in fact some financial institutions will even freeze joint accounts and only allow payments for essential items.

If no LPA is in place, relatives would need to apply to the Court of Protection to make finance decisions or to appoint a Deputy. This can cost £3000-4000 in initial costs and then ongoing fees on top. An LPA costs £82 to register, plus and fees for preparing the document. 

HOW CAN WE HELP?

Morecambe Bay Wills offer a cost-effective service which includes:

– Providing information about the decisions you need to make

– Visiting you at home to discuss this and answer questions

– Confirming your capacity to make these decisions

– Drafting forms for you to review and preparing final versions

– Obtaining required signatures via visits or registered post

– Submitting completed LPAs to the OPG on your behalf

– Responding to, and resolving, any OPG queries

– Giving you progress updates until certified LPAs are received

– Providing (optional) safe storage for your documents

Our service costs £150 for both LPAs, £250 for a couple, in addition to the OPG registration fees of £82 per LPA. We offer further discounts for those on low incomes, those who are facing an early cancer or dementia diagnosis (where we believe these documents are critical), and our existing Wills customers. We also guarantee that if there are any mistakes identified by the OPG, we will cover the re-submission costs. Don’t leave making an LPA for the future.  Contact us now to arrange an initial discussion. 

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