Lasting power of attorney

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I can't find a more suitable board so I'm posting this here.

I intend to make a lasting power of attorney for finances, naming my children (adults) jointly and severally for every decision. I think that means it is reasonably straightforward to do without a solicitor.

I also broached the subject of doing an LPA for health. The children insist this is unnecessary, as they will be able to make any and all decisions as next of kin. Are they right?
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  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,133 Forumite
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    I don't know if they're right or not, but our solicitor said much the same to us about the health LPA. However there are two of us so atm one would speak for the other: if there's just one of you and multiple children it would be fine if they're all in agreement and you think they'd do what you wanted. If any of them have strong feelings which differ from the rest, I'd seriously consider the Health - which is also welfare, so you could include your wishes about eg going into a home rather than going to live with any of them (which would be my preference!)

    I mention the need for agreement: when my parents were in their final hospital stays, it was very helpful that we were all quite comfortable with the decisions we were being asked about. I felt quite sorry for the junior doctor who thought that they should reinsert the line which Dad had pulled out 12 hours earlier, so that they could restart antibiotics which had patently done him no good whatsoever in the previous week. United, my siblings make a strong force ... but I would not have wanted to be a lone voice had I disagreed with them.
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  • securityguy
    securityguy Posts: 2,462 Forumite
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    edited 1 February 2016 at 11:09AM
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    "I also broached the subject of doing an LPA for health. The children insist this is unnecessary, as they will be able to make any and all decisions as next of kin. Are they right?"

    No, although there is a lot of wiggle-room for doctors to work with.

    Next of kin are consulted, but without a health POA there is a best interests test which overrides the next of kin. So if, for example, doctors want to give antibiotics to a patient with severe dementia whose children think wouldn't want to remain alive in that state, the doctors win.

    With a POA, the holder of the POA can refuse treatment on behalf of the patient as though they were the patient. The threshold for doctors being able to override that is much, much higher: you can refuse treatment up to the point at which you are sectioned (and courts are very reluctant to section and then order treatment solely on the basis of refusal) and the holder of a POA can refuse treatment on your behalf up to the point at which their behaviour is manifestly unreasonable and challengeable in a court.

    Nexts of kin have no power to refuse (or consent to) treatment; they are merely consulted as part of a best interests decision. People with a POA can act as the patient and refuse consent even if doctors feel that refusal is not in their best interests.

    In practice, the issue may not arise, however as an example...

    "I felt quite sorry for the junior doctor who thought that they should reinsert the line which Dad had pulled out 12 hours earlier, so that they could restart antibiotics which had patently done him no good whatsoever in the previous week. United, my siblings make a strong force"

    But a force with no legal power, had the doctor decided to ignore you. A POA removes the doubt: the holder of it could refuse treatment on your father's behalf. and the doctor would have no choice in the matter.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,133 Forumite
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    I agree, no legal power. And I admit I was very surprised when the solicitor advised that in their opinion we didn't need H&W LPAs as well as the financial ones we were drawing up - not least because they were effectively turning away business!

    To the OP, if you DO go for one, I suggest you give it quite a bit of thought. You can set out your wishes in some detail, eg that you do not wish to be resuscitated, that if you are in hospital with no prospect of returning to independent life that you do not want any extraordinary measures to be taken etc. Especially if these are not things you've discussed with family, or things that they disagree about - we'd all seen the effects of a devastating stroke on one of Mum's siblings, and all heard her say she would rather be dead than live like that, but some people find it very hard to let go.

    One of my friends is considering H&W LPA because he lives alone and has no family nearby. His struggle is to know who to appoint, but also how much detail to put in: he felt his father had been poorly advised and had put next to nothing in, which meant that his wishes were not clear.
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  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,997 Forumite
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    edited 1 February 2016 at 1:21PM
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    Don't forget the health/welfare one isn't just about health it might also be about where you live should you no longer be able to stay at home.
    Again as next of kin, if there was no power of attorney in place, your family would be consulted as part of a best interests decision but being next of kin does not give them the legal power to make the final decision.

    There's a link of here for more information.
    http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/powers-of-attorney/power-of-attorney/
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • goodwithsaving
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    Go to your local Citizens advice. They may be able to guide you to do it without such high legal fees.
  • jlew_2
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    I recently did LPA for my 94 year old Mother in Law. I did both the financial and health and have been surprised at the amount of times we have had to show the certificates to banks, social workers, the care home she now lives in. I think you should have both as things seem to be getting stricter as to when and for what these are needed for.

    My father was in residential care with vascular dementia, not too bad at first but eventually things went rapidly downhill. We didn't have any powers of attorney for him and a everyone accepted that and we were allowed to speak for him, but this was four years ago now and things seemed to have moved on a lot.

    This is why I sorted it for Mum in law. I used the forms online, it was very straight forward. Hassle but easy really and saved a lot not using a solicitor.
  • iolanthe07
    iolanthe07 Posts: 5,493 Forumite
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    I did a Lasting Power of Attorney for my m-i-l. It only cost the lodging fee of £110 (IIRC), and was easy to do with forms downloaded. The forms are logical and simple enough, providing you follow the instructions. How solicitors can get away with charging, sometimes, £1000+ beats me.
    I used to think that good grammar is important, but now I know that good wine is importanter.
  • Brighton_belle
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    iolanthe07 wrote: »
    I did a Lasting Power of Attorney for my m-i-l. It only cost the lodging fee of £110 (IIRC), and was easy to do with forms downloaded. The forms are logical and simple enough, providing you follow the instructions. How solicitors can get away with charging, sometimes, £1000+ beats me.
    Because although they are straightforward, they are very time consuming. This includes writing to GP's etc and getting responses, and then chasing potentially several Attornies to sign their parts and the form being sent back and forth numerous times. £100+ an hour doesn't go far.
    (I'm not justifying it, just explaining it as it was explained to me by a solicitor.)
    I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once
  • Primrose
    Primrose Posts: 10,625 Forumite
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    Just for anybody who is thinking of doing these P of A online themselves, they are fairly straightforward, but you do have to be careful to ensure everything is signed, witnessed and dated in the correct order.


    Also, if you are completing the forms whilst comparatively young and mentally fit so that you can file them away for the future, I would advise carefully noting any special wishes and instructions now while you are still able to be articulate about your wishes. it is worth spending the money to complete both the Financial Affairs and the Health & Welfare forms. With safeguarding and other legislation becoming ever more stringent it is worth having these powers articulated for the avoidance of doubt to make life easier for those who are looking after your affairs.


    We despatched our forms to the Office of Public Guardian on 1st June. There was a minor hiccup because despite our seeming care, one section had been signed in the wrong order and we were sent a replacement page to re-sign and date. We received notification that they had been registered on 24 July, so allow 6 - 8 weeks for the process to go through.
  • 88engine
    88engine Posts: 42 Forumite
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    Hi. I too am thinking of setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

    I am signing up to a will-writing service through my work benefits and want to tag on the LPA as well.

    First thing I want to check regarding an LPA is the level of detail that can be included. Is that entirely up to me, or are you restricted at all? Essentially we have a 1 year old and property etc. We would like to give our parents LPA of both our child and finances in the event that both my wife and I were no longer mentally capable following an accident or anything. However, because they are parents, if we do not have an accident then they are likely to reach the point where THEY do not have mental capacity before us and therefore we would like the LPA to automatically change to our friends. Is this even possible to be written in? This might also be the case if we had an accident tomorrow and they took control of our child and finances, but then in 10 years time become incapable. We would like to write our preferences in for these situations. Is this possible?

    Second thing, the cost. To do just the LPA is going to cost in the region of £316, spread over the course of 12 months. That is for a double LPA for my wife and I for both health and finances. Is this cost the going rate / reasonable?
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