Power of Attorney is important for elderly parents and relatives to set up, if they want to make sure that decisions can be made on their behalf. The two main types are; Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA). We explain below the difference and you can read more about the different types in our Power of Attorney Guide.
The type of LPA that relates to property and financial affairs can be made effective immediately, or it can be set up for a later date so that it is ready in the event of someone no longer able to make their own decisions.
This guide on ‘How to set up Power of Attorney’ will walk you through all the forms, including who needs to sign them and how to register them.
How to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney
Setting up Lasting Power of Attorney grants somebody (an ‘attorney’) the power to make certain decisions on behalf of somebody else (‘the donor’) for the rest of the donor’s life. There are 2 types of lasting power of attorney:
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA
- Health and Welfare LPA
The two different types of LPA need to be applied for separately. A person does not have to apply for both.
1. Select the attorney(s)
The first step is to choose appropriate people to name as attorneys. When choosing someone, the donor should consider if that person is trustworthy, reliable, and be able to make good decisions on their behalf. Most people select close friends or family members as their attorneys.
Discuss the appointment with the people named in the LPA form before completing the forms. Make sure that they are happy to be named as attorneys.
More than one person can be chosen as an attorney. This enables the attorneys to work together to make decisions. Having too many attorneys, however, may make it difficult for them to agree on decisions.
2. Fill in the forms for Lasting Power of Attorney
Whether submitted online or by paper, lasting power of attorney forms need to be printed off and signed.
Below is a simple guide to filling in each part of the LPA form. If you need more advice, there is a very detailed guide to filling in each section on the Gov.uk website.
Parts of the Lasting Power of Attorney forms
The 1st part of the form requires the donor's details. The donor needs to fill out this section themselves and sign it.
The 2nd part is for the donor to list the attorney(s) that they are looking to appoint. The order does not matter - all attorneys listed have equal power.
The 3rd part concerns how the donor wants their attorneys to make decisions. Decisions can be made 'jointly', 'jointly and severally', or 'jointly for some decisions, jointly and severally for other decisions.' See below for more explanation.
Part 4 is optional. The donor can write down the names of any replacement attorneys. These are people that will become attorneys if one of the original attorneys named can no longer make decisions on the donor's behalf.
Part A5 (Health and welfare)
Part 5 of the Health and Welfare LPA form (remember there are two separate forms) is deciding whether or not the donor gives consent for their attorneys to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment on their behalf.
Part A5 (Property and finance)
Part 5 of the Property and financial affairs LPA form is whether or not the donor wants their attorneys to be able to act on their behalf as soon as the LPA is registered, or only if they do not have the mental capacity themselves.
Part 6 is optional. The donor can select up to 5 trusted people to inform about their LPA when it's ready to be registered. This is to allow these trusted people to voice any concerns about the choice of attorney to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Part 7 is optional. The donor can use this space to outline and preferences or instructions that they feel may benefit their attorneys in the future, when the donor no longer has mental capacity.
Signing the Power of Attorney forms
Once steps 1 to 7 have been completed, the forms need to be signed. Before they can be signed, however, the donor, certificate provider and attorneys need to read Section 8 of the form. Section 8 outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of everyone involved.
Once everybody has read the form, it needs to be signed by the following people, and in the following order:
- 1 The donor
- 2 A certificate provider
- 3 The attorney(s)
It is essential that the lasting power of attorney forms are signed in the order listed above. If the forms are signed in a different order then the LPA will not be valid.
3. Register the Lasting Power of Attorney
If the LPA forms were filled out online, they can also be registered online. If paper forms were used, then sections B1 to B5 of the paper forms need to be completed. This includes specifying if the forms are being submitted by the donor or the attorneys, and who to send the approved LPA to.
If you’re using paper forms to register, you need to sign them and send them to the Office of the Public Guardian. The address is listed on the form. You need to include the original LPA form and the £82 fee, payable by cheque or card.
Once the forms are completed and registered, the trusted people identified in Part A6 of the form need to be informed of the LPA registration, using an LP3 form. If you apply online, it will automatically fill in the LP3 form for you. This is the process that allows people to voice concerns about the choice of attorneys. You They will have up to 3 weeks to raise any concerns with the Office of the Public Guardian regarding the selection fo attorneys.
If somebody stops being able to make decisions, but has not arranged Lasting Power of Attorney, then you will need to apply to the Court of Protection. Read our guide to the Court of Protection to learn more.
How to set up Ordinary Power of Attorney
Setting up an Ordinary Power of Attorney will allow somebody else to look after your financial affairs for a temporary period of time. An ordinary power of attorney is sometimes known as a General Power of Attorney.
There is not an official form that needs to be filled out in order to set up an Ordinary Power of Attorney. It does not need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
You do still need to use particular wording in the document you write outlining your desires for the Ordinary Power of Attorney. The standard wording is as follows:
- “This General Power of Attorney is made this day of (X) by me (donor’s full name) of (address). I appoint (attorney’s full name) of (address) (joint) / (jointly / jointly and severally) to be my attorney(s) in accordance with section 10 of the Powers of Attorney Act 1971.
- “Signed by me as a deed and delivered.”
It is advisable for the attorney to sign the document, as confirmation that they have read it and agree to be an attorney. Both parties should keep a copy of the document.
Setting up Power of Attorney: Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to apply for LPA?
It costs £82 to apply for a single Legal Power of Attorney.
What happens if I make a mistake on the LPA form?
Depending on the type of mistake, the Office of the Public Guardian allow you to amend it and apply again within 3 months for a fee of £41.
How long does it take to set up Power of Attorney?
It usually takes up to 10 weeks for the LPA to be registered.
Where can I download the Power of Attorney forms?
You can download the forms here from the Gov.UK website.
Can I help my relative to fill in the forms?
Yes, you can help a relative to fill in the LPA forms - as long as the donor does still have mental capacity, and is still deciding for themselves what is going in the LPA.