Sadly, long life doesn’t always mean long health. Equally, none of us know what is around the corner in terms of our capabilities and health, whether through an accident, disease or mental health issues.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) offers you the reassurance that if you do become incapacitated, someone you know and trust can handle your affairs for you. These trusted people are your attorneys, and you appoint them when you set up your LPAs. You can appoint more than one attorney (joint attorneys) and allow them to act ‘jointly and severally’, so that they can share the burden and responsibility between them.
Types of LPAs
There are two types of LPA:
- The Property and Finance LPA allows your attorneys to make financial decisions on your behalf. This can include managing your bank accounts, paying bills, collecting benefits and pensions, and even selling your home.
- The Health and Welfare LPA gives your attorney the power to make decisions about your daily care, medical issues, and if and when to move you into a care home.
(For more on LPAs, see our Lasting Power of Attorney blog)
Invoke an LPA when you need it
LPAs can be set up anytime, and only invoked (switched on) as and when required. You can also turn them off when you are able to conduct your own affairs once again.
Changes to an LPA
Invoking an LPA is pretty straightforward. However, making changes isn’t quite as easy! All LPAs are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), and they have strict rules on making changes. To change an LPA, you’ll need to show the OPG you have the mental capacity to change it. You’ll also need patience, as changing LPAs can be a real pain!
Common reasons LPAs need changing
There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to change or update an LPA.
- Your chosen attorney may now not have the capacity to do the job or doesn’t want to do it
If you want to take an attorney off your LPA (revoke an attorney), you need to send the OPG a written statement known as a partial deed of revocation. You’ll find the wording you need to use at the government website here. That statement must be witnessed, and posted along with your original LPA document to the OPG in Birmingham.
- You want to add a new attorney
To add a new attorney you need to end your current LPA and create a new one. This will involve getting all your current attorneys AND your new attorney to sign your new LPA. (See, we said it was a pain!)
- One of your attorneys has died
You need to inform the OPG and send them a copy of the death certificate, your original LPA, all the certified copies of the LPA (your attorneys and /or solicitor will have these), and provide a return address for all the docs to be sent back to you.
- You have changed your address
Tempting though it may be to simply write your new address on your original LPA, please DON’T DO THIS! Written amendments can invalidate your LPA. Contact the OPG to advise them of your change of address.
- Your attorney/s have changed their name or address
Again, don’t just write on your original LPA document! You’ll need to inform the OPG and provide “supporting documents, such as the original marriage certificate, with their new name and address.” (Asking newly-weds for their original marriage certificate could be a big ask!)
- You want to end your current LPA
If you have the mental capacity, you can end your LPAs by sending the OPG a ‘deed of revocation’. Again, the text you need for this is on the gov website here
Other reasons an LPA might end
If your attorney is also your spouse or civil partner, and you get divorced or dissolve the civil partnership, you LPA may end. The same applies if your property and financial affairs attorney is declared bankrupt or is subject to a Debt Relief Order.
And, of course, your LPAs will end automatically if you die. At this point, the executors of your will take over. (See our article on appointing an executor)
LPA changes in a nutshell
In short, what may seem quite a simple and reasonable thing to do needs to be done right or it could cost you dearly.
This is where we can help. If you are thinking of making any changes to your LPA, contact us first.