In today’s environment we are all looking at areas of our lives where we can save money, whether that is our weekly shop at the supermarket or shopping around for cheaper utility providers. In some cases, people are also looking at the possibility of carrying out some of their own legal work where traditionally they would have appointed a lawyer to act on their behalf.
It is worth remembering that lawyers have undertaken many years of extensive training and, in some cases, built up many years of experience to provide full advice, taking into account the risks and benefits involved.
Although it is possible to make your own Lasting Powers of Attorney, the risks of doing so without having an experienced lawyer instructed to create the Lasting Power of Attorney on your behalf can be very serious.
One of the risks is if the Lasting Powers of Attorney are rejected by the Office of the Public Guardian at the point they are registered. There are thousands of Lasting Powers of Attorney rejected at this stage each year and if this is the case the Office of the Public Guardian will retain the registration fee submitted and require a further registration fee when the corrected application is made. Whilst having to incur a second registration is frustrating, the matter could be made worse if the person whose Lasting Power of Attorney is sought to be registered no longer has capacity. If capacity has been lost then a Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be made and the alternative to this (known as a Deputyship Order) is a very expensive, often running into the thousands of pounds, and time consuming process.
Another common situation is where a Lasting Power of Attorney has been created without legal assistance and is successfully registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. Some time later when the Lasting Power of Attorney is needed to be used there may be errors within the document or some incomplete sections which means banks and other organisations will not accept the document. Again, if the person in question no longer has capacity then they cannot make a new Lasting Power of Attorney. As stated previously, the only option available in this situation is the expensive and time consuming Deputyship Order. The Deputyship Order takes a number of months to be obtained which can cause difficulties for the family ensuring that bills continue to be paid which could cause cash flow problems for themselves.
Whilst certain areas of Lasting Powers of Attorney are relatively simple to complete, there are other areas of the form that are less simple. Indeed, there are some areas where it is advised that legal advice should be taken.
Another role of a solicitor when acting for a client making Lasting Powers of Attorney is to be alert for any potential undue influence or even fraud. A lawyer will attend upon the client and discuss the Lasting Powers of Attorney in detail to ensure they have understood the principles of Lasting Powers of Attorney, any implications and that it is something they are wanting to do themselves rather than a forceful third party exerting undue influence on them to do something they are not comfortable with. Sadly, there are cases where Lasting Powers of Attorney have been fraudulently made (such as being prepared and signed by someone with the person in question having no knowledge that it had ever been made so that the “attorneys” can then access bank accounts). With a lawyer instructed then we can safeguard against this since all of our clients are identified to ensure they are the person they are claiming to be.
As with most cost saving exercises, making your own Lasting Power of Attorney could result in being a false economy. The costs of rectifying errors, whether that be making a new Lasting Power of Attorney or the situation arising where a Deputyship Order is required, are unnecessary and expensive.
Our costs for dealing with Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) are as follows:-
One LPA will be £350 plus VAT
Two LPAs will be £500 plus VAT
Any additional LPAs will be charged at £100 plus VAT.
Therefore, if a husband and wife decide to create both Property and Financial Affairs LPAs and Health and Welfare LPA’s (a total of four documents) then our total charges will be £700 plus VAT.
The document must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian for which there is an £82 court fee per document. It may be possible to apply for an exemption of this court fee if you are in receipt of certain benefits and this will be discussed during your initial meeting
To discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact one of our lawyers in the Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate Department:-
Jamie Dobbs- firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Mawer- email@example.com
Faye Blair- firstname.lastname@example.org
Or telephone the office 01775 722261 and ask to speak with one of the team.