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Think about this: your mother has been moved into a Nursing care home because she can no longer manage due to dementia. You don’t live nearby and as you’d like to visit frequently you want to move her to a care home near to you. But you can’t – because your mother did not make a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Well-being before she lost “mental capacity”. You can apply to the Court of Protection for a decision to be made about this. If there is likely to be a continuing need to make decisions on your mother’s behalf, you can ask the Court of Protection to appoint you as a deputy. But this is not only a long-winded process, but can be costly as well, as the application fee is £385 and if you need to continue with “general supervision” as a deputy, there is an annual fee of £320.
This is also the case if you need to manage someone’s Financial and Property – if there is no LPA for Financial and Property (LPA F&P) in place, again, you will have to apply to the Court of Protection, if that person has lost “capacity”.
A person, the “donor”, can apply for an LPA for Health and Well-being and another for Financial and Property at any time while they have mental capacity (the ability to make their own decisions). This means that they understand the implications of doing it, as verified by an independent person. They will appoint one or more people to manage their affairs – known as attorneys. The Financial and Property can be used while someone has capacity, with permission from the donor, but the Health and Well-being cannot be used until capacity is lost. Losing mental capacity is not always due to dementia or “old age” – you may have an accident, be in a coma or have a stroke. Look at Managing Affairs for Someone Else for further information.
It costs £82 to register an LPA (so £164 to do both for one person) but if you earn less than £12,000 per annum can pay a reduced fee of £41 (per LPA). Some people in receipt of certain (means tested) benefits are exempt. Others may get a remission due to their financial circumstances or in receipt of Universal Credit. For more information see Power of Attorney.
Some people already have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in place, made before 2007. These only cover Financial and Property – and until a person loses capacity can’t be registered with the Court of Protection. They do NOT cover Health & Wellbeing.
In 2013 the fees for registering an EPA were reduced. But due to an oversight, the registration fees for the LPAs were not reduced at that time. Anyone who registered an LPA between 1st April 2013 & 31st March 2017 are now due a refund of up to £54 per LPA. About a million LPAs are affected. Look at Power of Attorney Refund for information on how to get a refund.
Money Saving Expert have written a useful article if you need more information.