Time for a Lasting Power of Attorney? How to have that delicate discussion with a loved one banner

News and Insight

Home / News and Insight / Legal News / Time for a Lasting Power of Attorney? How to have that delicate discussion with a loved one

Time for a Lasting Power of Attorney? How to have that delicate discussion with a loved one

Time for a Lasting Power of Attorney? How to have that delicate discussion with a loved one

Two major charities – Age UK and Dementia UK – have joined forces to provide advice on how to start the often tricky conversation with family and friends about the importance of setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

Together with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which plays a crucial role in protecting people who lack mental capacity from abuse, they have drawn up five top tips to help.

Age UK director Caroline Abrahams says: “It can give enormous peace of mind to know someone you trust can act for you in the event you are ever unable to make your own decisions.

“At the same time, we know, conversations about making an LPA, with loved ones or others, are not always easy.

“It might be hard to talk about money, health and welfare decisions and the possibility of them being unable to make their own decisions in the future.

“Sometimes it is difficult to know where to start.”

Talking about LPAs – five top tips

This is what AGE UK, Dementia UK and the OPG advise:

  • Plan ahead – find a comfortable place where everyone feels at ease and come armed with some key information about LPAs and how to set one up.
  • Have an open conversation – be prepared to discuss all the options without any expectations, give everyone time and space to talk and listen without judgement.
  • Respect each other’s choices – if a family member or friend doesn’t want to talk about an LPA then respect this, especially as it makes many people anxious. Remind everyone that this is a conversation that can be had again in the future.
  • Start the conversation early – try not to leave it too late to bring the subject of LPAs up. A person can only make an LPA if they have the mental capacity to do so. It’s about putting things in place to make life easier later on.
  • Don’t give too much information at once – this can be overwhelming, especially as there may be many things to consider.

Why is a Lasting Power of Attorney so important?

An LPA is arguably as important a legal document as a Will.

If drawn up properly by a specialist solicitor, it is a positive and effective tool which allows someone to appoint another person, or people, to act on their behalf if they lose mental capacity and are unable to manage their own affairs.

There are two types of LPA. One for property and financial affairs and one which covers health and welfare decisions and can include end of life care.

For an LPA to be valid, the person making it, known as the donor, must fully understand the implications of the arrangement at the time. It’s called having mental capacity.

This is why it is so vital to plan ahead – even if it feels uncomfortable to raise the subject with someone who is reluctant to discuss their future with you.

Why is it so crucial to get the LPA paperwork right?

Once everyone agrees about the way forward, it is vital to get the paperwork right.

An LPA can only be used once it has been registered with the OPG, a process that is currently taking an average of four months and often longer.

Recent data shows that almost 130,000 LPA applications have been rejected over the last five years because they contained mistakes.

This means the OPG returns the forms, and you not only have to apply again but pay another fee.

Although you can do an LPA online, using a specialist solicitor to create and register an LPA safeguards against it being drawn up with errors that turn out later to be expensive, time consuming and stressful to put right.

Get in touch

Wards Solicitors’ is once again recommended as a South West Leading firm in the Legal 500 list for 2024, praised for its exceptional professional service standards and high levels of technical expertise.

Our Wills and Mental Capacity Team is one of the largest in the region and vastly experienced. All our lawyers have extensive and specialist knowledge of how to set up an LPA.

In addition, most of our team members are fully accredited with Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). Membership of these organisations ensures the highest standards of professionalism.

We offer a free initial appointment for you to discuss what you need and always provide clear cost details up front before starting any work.

    Get in Touch

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. The Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.