BBC1’s “The One Show” recently ran a story involving a lady whose husband was in a coma for three years until he sadly passed away. The husband, although he had made a Will, had made no advance provision appointing an Attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to look after his financial affairs. This necessitated an application to the Court of Protection to appoint his wife as his Deputy. The whole process was time consuming, costly and very stressful in what was already a difficult and distressing period for the wife.
The One Show were right to report that the only way in which a person can in advance appoint another person of their choice to look after their financial affairs (should they at a later date lose the capacity to look after their affairs themselves) is through a Property and Affairs LPA. They were also right to report that, if an individual has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney in advance and they do then lose capacity to make financial decisions for themselves, the only other course of action is to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint another person to act as Deputy on that person’s behalf.
Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced the old style Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) in October 2007. Although in may ways they are a more satisfactory (and certainly safer) document for somebody to sign, the extra safeguards the new LPA regime has put in place have inevitably increased the cost in making one. Whereas in the past the vast majority of people would make an EPA at the same time as they made a Will, we have found that, post October 2007, the extra cost has put people off making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
At Linder Myers Solicitors we have worked very hard over the last few months to streamline the LPA process and to bring costs down as much as possible to make them more attractive to clients. We are now able to offer:
Postal service for a fully registered LPA (which involves finding your own certificate Provider – with guidance and help from us) at a cost of £250 plus VAT (there is also an additional £120 registration fee to pay dIrectly to the Office of the Public Guardian).
Personal visit with one of our solicitors acting as the certificate provider at a cost between £450 plus VAT to £600 plus VAT for a fully registered LPA (which again also incurs a separate £120 registration fee payable to the Office of the Public Guardian).
We would always recommend that a client makes a Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that the distressing situation detailed in The One Show does not happen to their loved ones. Indeed, the Ministry of Justice are now asking the Law Society to promote the idea to its Members that clients who want to make a Will should be strongly encouraged to sign a Lasting Power of Attorney at the same time.
Linder Myers Solicitors do also specialise in assisting clients to make Court of Protection applications to be appointed as a Deputy for a loved one should the need arise. From our experience the circumstances outlined in The One Show feature are unusual in terms of the very high cost and restrictions placed on the wife acting as her husband’s Deputy. Typically, however, the total overall cost (including Solicitors’ fees and Court application fees etc) of an initial application to the Court of Protection is roughly £2,000 with ongoing annual fees to pay to Court also. It therefore is strongly advisable that people do make Lasting Powers of Attorney as they would typically only cost the individual’s Estate a third of what an application to the Court of Protection would cost their relatives to rectify the situation at a later date.Find out more about our Court of Protection department