A Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA gives legal authority to a trusted friend or relative to make decisions and deal with the affairs of someone unable to do this for themselves.
It is always recommended that people prepare LPAs as soon as possible, whilst they are capable of understanding the considerations required to make these documents, and can make decisions for themselves (ie whilst they have ‘mental capacity’). Once someone makes LPAs this means that, should they ever need assistance with the personal and financial affairs, their attorney(s) will be legally authorised to assist them, and if they lose mental capacity, their attorney(s) will be legally authorised to step in and make decisions on their behalf. There are two types of LPA that can be created; one which deals with decisions relating to a person’s property and finances, and another which deals with decisions relating to their health and welfare.
Once an LPA has been created, it can either be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) or stored with other personal papers until needed. It is important to note that an LPA cannot be used until it is registered with the OPG and this process usually takes several weeks, and therefore if the documents become needed urgently, the registration process can create a delay. For this reason, it is often sensible to register the LPA(s) straightaway, and then store the registered documents safely, until they are needed.
It may be the case that where someone has made an LPA in the past, they may wish to cancel or change it so that those whom they appointed will no longer be able to act. An LPA can be cancelled at any time, provided the person who made it still has the mental capacity to understand the situation and make the decision for themselves.
How to cancel a Lasting Power of Attorney
An LPA can be cancelled through signing a document called a Deed of Revocation. It is important that the deed is worded and signed properly so that the cancellation of your LPA is effective. Once it has been signed, if your LPA was registered, the Deed of Revocation should be sent to the OPG together with the original LPA.
You will also need to tell your proposed attorney(s) and anyone else who was formally notified about the registration of the LPA. You should ask your attorney(s) to let you have any copies of the LPA that they might hold.
Other situations in which an LPA will be cancelled
An LPA will no longer be effective in the following situations:
- All attorneys in the LPA die before you, or lose mental capacity;
- Any attorney dies or loses mental capacity, and your LPA appoints your attorneys jointly;
- Your attorney was your spouse or civil partner and you divorce or dissolve your civil partnership;
- Your attorney is declared bankrupt or made the subject of a debt relief order – this only applies if they are an attorney under a property and financial LPA, not a health and welfare LPA;
- The Court of Protection removes your attorney from their role;
- When you die – from this point on, your Executors appointed in your Will (or your Administrators if you die without a Will) are responsible for dealing with your estate.
Changing your LPA
Once an LPA has been created, it is not possible for you to make any additions to the document. You can however remove an attorney, if you have appointed more than one. This might be the case if your original choice of attorney has moved away, you may not feel comfortable with them acting on your behalf anymore, or you might think they will struggle to deal with your affairs if they were called upon to do so. Removal of an attorney can be achieved with a partial Deed of Revocation. The LPA document itself should not be amended, as this could invalidate the document.
Instead, you should send a partial Deed of Revocation to the OPG and notify all attorneys as well as anyone who was initially formally notified when the LPA was registered.
If you would like to discuss the preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney, or are considering cancelling your LPA, or removing one of our attorneys, please contact our Farnham office on 01252 733 770 or by email at email@example.com. Our expert LPA lawyers have many years’ experience in dealing with and advising upon LPAs and will be happy to assist with your situation.