Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) are important documents allowing you to appoint people you trust should you lose capacity in the future. A LPA is a document enabling a person (the donor) to appoint an attorney or attorneys to manage their financial affairs and/or make decisions as to their health and welfare. 

LPAs were introduced in October 2007, replacing the previous system of enduring powers of attorney (EPA) – although an EPA created before October 2007 remains valid.

Making and registering a LPA

There are two types of LPA:

  1. property and financial affairs - one that can cover decisions about money matters
  2. personal welfare - one that can cover decisions about healthcare

Once you have chosen someone to look after your affairs and have made a LPA, the LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used.

Registering a LPA

From 1 April 2017, the fees for applying to register LPAs and enduring powers of attorney (EPA) reduced from £110 to £82, with the fee for resubmitting an LPA for registration reducing from £55 to £41.

The OPG has admitted to overcharging fees for registering lasting powers of attorney for the last four years. Up until 2017, for registering each LPA, the government charged a fee of £110. However, this was well above the costs the OPG incurred in processing the applications. Government agencies are not allowed to do this unless they have specific legislative authority.

According to the government, thousands of customers have been overcharged and will be entitled to a refund during the course of the current financial year. The amount owed is approximately £89 million. As yet, the government has not announced how those who have been affected can claim a refund, but the OPG have said full details will be announced in due course.

Ensure you choose someone you trust

Retired judge, Denzil Lush, former judge of the Court of Protection, was recently in the news warning of the dangers of doing LPAs as most of the safeguards that used to apply to the documents have been removed by the government. However, these documents do remain extremely useful for those people who lose capacity, providing they have appointed people who they trust and act in their best interests.

If you would like to discuss this further as well as the different types of LPAs and how you can best safeguard yourself in the event that you lose capacity, please visit our powers of attorney page for more information or contact one of our specialists.