There may come a time when someone becomes unable to make sound decisions about their personal care or finances. This could be due to illness or injury, or simply as a result of getting older. In which case, the person may need to appoint someone else to make crucial decisions on their behalf, and this is known as power of attorney.
The process of appointing a power of attorney is relatively straightforward, although a cost will apply to do so. Here is an overview of what a power attorney is, along with how much it costs to arrange through a solicitor.
What Is Power Of Attorney UK?
Power of attorney is the process of appointing someone else to make decisions relating to a person’s health, finances or wellbeing, should they no longer be capable of doing so on their own anymore.
Many people assume that their spouse or immediate family members would be able to make decisions on their behalf automatically, but this simply isn’t true. Unless power of attorney is in place, nobody has the right to make crucial life decisions on another person’s behalf.
Furthermore, if a power of attorney is not appointed, the family or spouse of the individual may have to go to court to get the legal authority to act on their behalf, which can be both stressful and expensive. Therefore, appointing a power of attorney at the earliest convenience is the best way to ensure that a person’s wishes will be respected.
The appointed person may be a relative, friend or a professional such as a solicitor or doctor. They must be over 18 and have known the donor for at least two years.
Power Of Attorney Types
There are three main types of power of attorney depending on aspects of the individual’s affairs that need managing.
Ordinary power of attorney: Used to make financial decisions on someone’s behalf while they still have mental capacity. Usage examples include if the person is in hospital, on holiday or struggles to get out. A general power of attorney can sometimes be applied temporarily. Its validity ceases if the person no longer has mental capacity.
Lasting power of attorney (LPA): Covers aspects relating to personal care as well as medical treatment. For example, what the person’s daily routine should include, if they need to be moved into a care home and whether they should receive life-sustaining treatment.
Enduring power of attorney (EPA): Only covers property and financial affairs. So for instance, if the individual is unable to manage their own money or benefits, then they may need an EPA.
It’s possible to choose one type of ongoing power of attorney or opt for both (i.e. LPA and EPA). For instance, if a person lacks mental capacity, they would likely need help with both their health needs as well as their financial affairs. However, an alternative option could involve estate planning with a solicitor, while the individual has good cognitive function.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland, there’s a different process for power of attorney than in England.
Note that the term ‘power of attorney’ is also used in other countries, including the USA. So be sure to seek advice from a UK based solicitor on the right power of attorney type for your particular case.
Power Of Attorney Cost
The cost of power of attorney is split into two main categories – the cost of registration along with the cost of the solicitor’s fees.
First up, registration for a power of attorney is £82. However, if the donor receives any benefits, they may be entitled to a 50% discount. Not all benefits automatically qualify for the discount though, as Disability Living Allowance, Invalidity Benefit and Personal Independence Payments are excluded from the discount scheme.
Costs for applying for a power of attorney are non-refundable. If a donor requires both types (EPA and LPA), they must pay for two separate applications.
As you might expect, the cost of hiring a solicitor is the most expensive part of the process, typically ranging from between £250 and £400. In the case of extremely complex matters, including where a power of attorney specialist needs to be brought in, costs could be as high as £1,000.
However in general, anyone wishing to arrange power of attorney should expect to pay between £350 and £450 in total, per application type.
Power Of Attorney UK FAQs
Trying to arrange a power of attorney can be confusing. We’ve answered some of the top questions to guide you. However, if you don’t see your query below, leave a reply below and we’ll get back to you.
How To Get Power Of Attorney?
Appointing someone as a power of attorney is an extremely delicate process, as it needs to be deemed that the person will act in the donor’s best interests. It can take up to 20 weeks for the power of attorney to be granted.
To arrange for a power of attorney, the application must be submitted to the Office of Public Guardian. A solicitor should also be consulted to help arrange the process.
Can A Power Of Attorney Transfer Money To Themselves?
Yes, but only if the transfer is acting in the best interests of the donor. The amount transferred or gifted must not also impact the donor’s ability to pay for any bills or ongoing costs. There are strict safeguarding policies in place to protect the donor, which is why appointees should consult a solicitor to ensure they are acting within the law before making any cash transfers to themselves.
How Do I Prove I Have Power Of Attorney UK?
When a power of attorney is granted, it will state the appointed individual on a certificate, which can then be presented to the relevant organisations when needed. If this form is lost, then a replacement form can be ordered for a fee.
Power Of Attorney: In Summary
While it’s not a strict requirement to have a solicitor arrange a power of attorney, it’s highly recommended to ensure the wishes of the donor are best met. Plus, a solicitor can help ensure the right power of attorney is granted, or offer other services to guarantee the long-term health, wellbeing and financial security of the individual who is no longer able to manage their own affairs.
We hope you’ve found the answers you are looking for concerning solicitor’s fees for power of attorney here Retirement Expert. If you’d like us to cover any related topics, or want to share your experiences of getting power of attorney for yourself or a loved one, please leave us a comment below.