A-Z

Paying for social care (older people)

Lasting Powers of Attorney

This page covers:
• What is meant by Lasting Power of Attorney
• Setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney and getting the timing right
• Benefits of a Lasting Power of Attorney when someone needs care

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal agreement to authorise another person to make decisions on your behalf. A common belief is that a Lasting Power of Attorney is just for people with dementia, but it is helpful for anyone who is not able to manage their affairs, whatever the reason. For example, when we spoke to Jane she told us her mother had arranged a Lasting Power of Attorney when her eye sight started to deteriorate. 

Sometimes people refer to a Lasting Power of Attorney as an ‘LPA’. 

There are two types of LPA, one that deals with finances and one that deals with health and welfare decisions. Someone can have one or the other in place, or both.

 

Kate says that LPAs are really important and decided to set one up for herself.

Kate says that LPAs are really important and decided to set one up for herself.

Age at interview: 69
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Well, yes, I mean, we, it was set up for Mum and Dad probably 15 years ago. We, and we, they said it would, they thought then that they were getting into their eight, towards their eighties, I suppose. But they thought it would be a good idea to have it set up. So, we did. We never actually needed it for my dad. You know, he died before it was ever necessary, and it was probably only six years ago that Mum said: "I'm finding this difficult, now." And we, you know, we activated it, basically. So, it was well set up in advance, and it's prompted me to set up my own, because you never just know, do you? [Laughs] If anything happens to you, you need it for yourself, really. So yeah. In some ways I think it's as important as a will, really, have power of attorney set up.

Just thinking about that, then, how, would you say that there isn't a time that's too soon to do that sort of thing, or, I mean…

I suppose it depends on your personal circumstances, but often for people living on, on their own or something, you, nobody knows if they're going to be knocked down by a car. You don't know if something catastrophic's going to happen. Please God it doesn't, but at that point, at least you've got a system in place that says, financially, things can be activated and looked after, and you don't have to go through the court for every payment, or something. So yeah, I think power of attorney's really important [laughs].

The person appointed to make decisions on behalf of someone else is called an attorney. The attorney must make decisions in the best interests of the person they represent. It is crucial that the person appointed as attorney is fully trusted.

 

Jennifer points out that the person appointed as attorney does not have to be family.

Jennifer points out that the person appointed as attorney does not have to be family.

Age at interview: 74
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Before I came here, as soon as I got the diagnosis, because my view is you’ve got to give Power of Attorney before rather than later because you, then you lose the ability to be, decide and it becomes complicated. But the problem with that is, speaking as a GP, is that some families abuse it, I do know that, so you have to be able to trust your children or else find someone else to act as Power of Attorney, because I have seen it when children have taken all their parents’ money, basically, and it’s not right. So you have to be able to trust the person and if you can’t, or you’re not sure about the family, then you can get someone else to have the Power of Attorney.

 

More than one person can be appointed. If there are two or more attorneys the LPA can be set up so that each can make decisions individually or that they must all agree. It is possible to change the people appointed as attorney if needed.

 

Jacky and her brother were appointed as joint financial attorneys but could make decisions separately.

Jacky and her brother were appointed as joint financial attorneys but could make decisions separately.

Age at interview: 65
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

No, no, luckily we were both very much in agreement. I was doing it all but I was keeping my brother informed, because we, the joint Power of Attorney actually was what’s the term? I think on it said joint and severally; so we didn’t have to have agreement to act together but, yes, I did keep him informed, it was, practically it was me doing that, mainly because by that stage I’d given up work in order to cope with the situation so I’d got more time to do it. But no luckily we didn’t have any disagreements, we were, I don’t think, I can’t think of anything that we actually disagreed about.

Most people told us that they asked their solicitor to draw up the LPA for them. But some said that they had got the forms from the internet and completed them for themselves. The form has to be certified by a trusted person such as a solicitor, doctor or someone who has known the people involved for some time.

 

Peter drew up the LPA himself and had it certified with a solicitor.

Peter drew up the LPA himself and had it certified with a solicitor.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Well again that was ad, advice that came first from the men’s group and we did get people, sort of, come and give us talks about Power of Attorney, solicitors that would help. So I fancy I know a bit about the law so I [laughs] I just, you know, got information and did it myself and it’s authentic, you know, it, I’ve had the all the stuff and I’ve lodged it with a solicitors, you know, but he didn’t arrange it for me; I wasn’t going to pay his fees for doing something like that [laughter] you know. I may regret that as well [laughs]. So I’ve got two sons in this country who are both, have my Power of Attorney, but I if I’m going to go insane or whatever I have to register that before I go insane. They have Power of Attorney but it’s, it’s not in their hands to do anything at the moment until I say please do it so I’ve got to gauge when I start to make stupid mistakes.

 

Although Sally was appointed sole attorney for her parents, she let her relatives know what she was doing.

Although Sally was appointed sole attorney for her parents, she let her relatives know what she was doing.

Age at interview: 66
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

And of course with my mum well with both of them actually I felt that it was only right to inform my mum’s sister and my dad’s nephew, who were the only surviving relatives, that, that’s what I was doing, just because I wanted transparency. Again, you know, again going, going back to the, you know elder abuse and, you know, misuse of finances I wanted, I just wanted it all to be clear and transparent, basically, and to make sure that somebody other than my husband and I knew what we were doing because it’s so easy to leave yourself open to criticism and suspicion, you know. So yeah, so that it was good, it was good to get the Power of Attorney done, definitely, yeah, and then, yes, with just solicitor and solicitor’s advice where we needed it and GP talking to my, to both my parents and saying, you know, you know, do you understand, you know; they’d both got enough capacity at that point to be able to agree to it.

When the LPA has been signed and certified, it has to be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to be registered before it can be used. This takes at least two months. Even after it is registered, the person can continue to manage their own affairs as long as they want and are able to.

 

Rosemary registered the LPA a few years after it was certified, but wished she had done it sooner.

Rosemary registered the LPA a few years after it was certified, but wished she had done it sooner.

Age at interview: 65
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Oh we did that before, when Graham still had capacity after he’d been diagnosed we, I did it all myself, I downloaded all the paperwork and completed it all myself, I didn’t do it through a solicitor because I knew it was perfectly possible to do it yourself and we did; and I did both, lined the paperwork up for both, and at that stage, I’m not sure if you still have to do it, but you needed to go in to talk to somebody, and the most obvious person was the GP, and they had to sort of validate it, interview Graham make sure he wasn’t being coerced and all that sort of stuff. And I booked a, you know, a double appointment to do this with the GP and basically at the end of doing the financial one she’d run out of time, and so I said, “OK, fine, well we’ll come back.” And for whatever reason I didn’t get round to coming back. I also made the big mistake of not registering the LPA at the time that it was done and dusted, because I didn’t fully recognise that that was best practice. I thought well we don’t need it at the moment, Graham perfectly capable and competent, he’s, can manage his own financial affairs; I didn’t realise that he could still do that and have the LPA in place registered. So when I came to register it [a] a big period of time had gone by, which was a query, and [b] it emerged that the GP had not ticked the box that said she was a GP; so the Office of the Public Guardian got involved and said, ooh. Fortunately there was an outbreak of common sense and they realised that the GP, who they had managed to see was still a GP, albeit in Scotland by that time, they realised that she was a pukka GP and they could tick the box and it all happened. But otherwise we were going to have to go through a most tortuous process of having the Office of the Public Guardian come in and, you know, oh thank goodness it didn’t and at that point it was too late to do a welfare one because Graham had lost capacity, so yeah, mm, mm.

 

Gordon and his wife had a solicitor draw up LPAs for both finance and health and welfare.

Gordon and his wife had a solicitor draw up LPAs for both finance and health and welfare.

Age at interview: 76
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I think you said you have Power of Attorney?

Yes.

Is it just you that has Power of Attorney or do any of your children have?

My, no, Joan’s son’s also got Power of Attorney so that if anything happens to me then he’ll have Power of Attorney over health and money, yeah.

So what, and what advice did you get and what led you to decide to do that?

Well I’m quite knowledgeable about things and I knew that I had to get a Power of Attorney if something happened to Joan sorry, if something happens, yeah, if something happens to Joan or something happens to me.

So it was just something that’s always been on your, you’ve always sort of known about the existence of that kind of thing and…?

Well you, you see plenty of writing about it in the newspapers and all of that so it’s the common-sense thing to do.

So when was that put in place?

Oh I can’t remember the date; it must be about four or five years ago anyway.

So did that did that take much doing, was it…?

No, no, you’ve just got to employ a lawyer [laughs].

When the person decides it’s time for their attorney to begin to manage their affairs, the banks and other official bodies need to see a copy of the LPA. Hannah said this made it tricky to deal with online accounts so it was better to just go to the high street banks, in person, but this can also be a hassle as Jacky explains.

 

Jacky said it was a hassle presenting the LPA to all the banks and building societies.

Jacky said it was a hassle presenting the LPA to all the banks and building societies.

Age at interview: 65
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Yeah, I seem to remember my, it was a bit of a hassle then, my, because my brother having to go to various banks and things, because they wouldn’t accept copies, he actually had to go and show them the original Power of Attorney and this sort of thing. But it was sort of like minor hassles rather than a major problem.

Most people we spoke to about paying for care had set up an LPA for finance. For the person appointed as attorney, they said that it made their dealings much easier once everything was in place. They could manage direct debits and even help with selling the house.

 

Sinclair manages his finances himself but his daughter helped to negotiate the sale of the house.

Sinclair manages his finances himself but his daughter helped to negotiate the sale of the house.

Age at interview: 92
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Oh yes, we’ve done, we’ve done all that she has a Power of Attorney, in fact all three children have Power of Attorney over Audrey’s affairs and over my affairs if need be.

Yes, so you’re obviously dealing with it yourself?

Yes, yes, yeah.

It just helps to know if you can’t get to where things need signing or whatever that your…

That’s right.

…family can deal with it?

In fact [name of daughter] couldn’t negotiate the sale of the house without having a Power of Attorney anyway.

Not many of the people we spoke to had arranged an LPA for health and welfare. Some didn’t think it was necessary and for others it was left too late and the person needing care no longer had capacity to appoint an attorney.

 

Hannah regrets not advising her mother to take out an LPA for health and welfare as well as finance.

Hannah regrets not advising her mother to take out an LPA for health and welfare as well as finance.

Age at interview: 53
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I think I’m lucky; I think my education and financial background is invaluable. I think approaching things like knowing to get Powers of Attorney; one of the things I regret and which I’m now going to revisit is actually I don’t have, when I did a Power of Attorney for her finances I didn’t take one out for her health. It’s quite a hard thing to suddenly think that you’re responsible for making those decisions; this issue is that now it’s vitally important that I do have a say over that, and although we’ve got great doctors and a great care home I don’t want her to go into hospital. So not having that Power of Attorney I feel I’m in a weakened position, although the family is totally behind us on that basis. But with regards to the financial side of it being able to negotiate just looking after her bank accounts finding the best home for her money it is very difficult and actually it’s time consuming to ensure that you’re trying to get the best and over the last ten years for her savings it’s been really hard, she’s not getting the best return on her money.

If it is too late to set up an LPA because the person no longer has capacity, the family, or whoever is managing the person’s care, will need to be able to access their money to pay for care. This is done through the Court of Protection. People told us that going through the Court of Protection was a difficult and costly process and it is vital to keep records and receipts of all expenditure.

 

Simon was helping to arrange and pay for care for his mum and had to apply to the Court of Protection.

Simon was helping to arrange and pay for care for his mum and had to apply to the Court of Protection.

Age at interview: 60
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Oh with the OPG (Office of Public Guardian), right, yeah. With, so I got the Court of Protection and that gave me funds, and with the Court of Protection you have to keep account of what you do; so I did, I kept a spreadsheet of what I do; and then I found out that that’s not enough, you have to keep receipts, and I was not aware of this, it was; and I got really quite panic struck by some of these letters that I was being sent by the Office of Public Guardian; and they’re very one-way. So they send you lots of demands but do, if you want to speak to them or get hold of them it’s nigh on impossible, it, and, well I really haven’t got anything good to say about the Office of Public Guardian at all, from my experience, even to the fact that after mum died they were still demanding money from her; and when she died I sent all the information that everybody needed, included the Office of Public Guardian. So I’m not very happy with them at all. In fact I’ve still kept, two years after she’s died I’ve still kept every single piece of correspondence from the Office for Public Guardian, because I simply don’t trust that that’s it, it’s over, I still feel that they’re going to sort of come back and haunt me again, you know.

donate
Previous Page
Next Page