Power of Attorney: Five steps to put your future decisions into the right hands


What happens if you are unable to make decisions about your care, finances and health?

It can be a scary thing to think about, but by planning now, you will benefit from increased confidence and the knowledge that those issues are in trusted hands, should the time come.

That’s where Lifetime Power of Attorney (LPA) comes in.

LPA gives the people or person named, the power, to make decisions on your behalf, in situations where you are unable to make them yourself. This could be due to mental or physical incapacity.

Setting up your LPA need not be a stressful process. These five steps should ensure that the process is as smooth and hassle-free as possible:

1. Understand the different types of LPA

There are two types of LPA; ‘health and welfare’, and ‘property and affairs’. You can appoint Attorneys for one or both roles and each will have different responsibilities.

A health and welfare Attorney will make decisions about your:

  • Daily routine, including eating, dressing and hygiene
  • Medical care
  • Accommodation; including moving into care
  • Life support, should you be dependent on it

Your property and affairs Attorney will be responsible for:

  • Managing bank and building society accounts
  • Household bills and budgeting
  • Collecting your income; including pensions and benefits
  • Property sales; i.e. if your house needs to be sold to cover other expenses

2. Decide who will take responsibility (and ask them)

The number of Attorneys you can appoint is not limited, though it is usually best to keep it to four and under, to reduce disagreements and keep communication smooth.

Deciding who will be your attorney and make these decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so, is a huge responsibility. The main thing to remember is that this is your choice and it is fine to take your time and consider all options carefully. While planning in a timely manner is important, so is making the right decision.

Once you have chosen your attorney(s), it is time to ask them. They need to agree to the responsibility and you may need to explain a bit more about what will be required of them.

You may find that talking to those you trust and asking them to bear the responsibility may be emotional for you both, but it is a necessary step in securing your financial position for life.

3. Register your LPA

Making your LPA can be done online or using paper forms. To do this online, you will need to create an account. If you are ready to do so, you can begin the process here. If you would rather complete paper forms, they can be downloaded here. Alternatively, your solicitor or financial adviser may be able to get them for you.

Registering an LPA will cost £82 unless you have an exemption due to low income.

Attorneys can register by themselves. However, you will be informed, and you can appeal their application if you think that it has been made in error.

4. Discuss your wishes (and put them in writing)

Now that your Attorneys are in place and committed to assisting you when necessary, it is vital to make sure that they know what your wishes are and how you want them to act on your behalf. You may wish to put some notes in writing to ensure that you are all on the same page and to give yourself the peace of mind that your Attorneys will take the actions which are in your best interests.

It is also worth making or updating your will at this point and registering it with Certainty, the national will register. That ensures that solicitors can access your will and that your intentions are solidified.

5. Integrate your Attorney into your financial plan

When you picture your financial plan, you may envisage sections of life, with changing needs and a flexible strategy which meets those requirements and goals at each stage. Having someone to make decisions at a time when you may no longer be able to do so, should be a vital part of that plan.

If your financial plan is to be designed to support you throughout life, why not plan for every potential eventuality?

Ensuring that your LPA and Attorneys are on board with your financial goals and aspirations can be difficult alone. Which is where we can help.

Contact Sarah or Bev on 0115 933 8433 to discuss how your financial plan can incorporate safety nets and features, which ensure that you are involved in all decisions regarding your money and health.