- Yes, but scope for error is significant. 22,000 Lasting Powers of Attorney were rejected in 2019
- A will writer, who is a member of the Society of Will Writers may also offer support.
- Some firms, including Confidence Wills, offer reduced price services for social reasons.
- 75%-90% of those creating Lasting Powers of Attorney seek professional help.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) can be made at any time and allow you to appoint somebody trusted, such as a family member, to make critical decisions for you, should you lose capacity to do so. With approximately one person per minute suffering from new stroke, head injury or dementia, diagnosis, in the UK, LPAs are more important than ever.
Recent government research indicates that nearly 75% of people believe that their ‘next of kin’ will be able to make decisions for them, should they lose mental capacity. This is not the case. If you make no power of attorney, you may be assigned a deputy by the courts, to perform this role. You and your family are likely to be required to pay fees relating to the appointment of such a deputy. Research by the Office of the Public Guardian, suggests these fees to be 1,200% greater (12x) than the costs of putting an LPA in place. This figure does not include ongoing supervision and bond fees charged by the authorities.
It is possible to apply for an LPA directly, without help from a professional, however, this route is not without risk. Research by the Office of the Public Guardian suggests around 75% of those submitting LPAs seek professional help in some form. Confidence Wills’ data indicates a figure nearer to 90%.
The reasons so many seek professional help are two-fold:
Firstly, the complexity and subtlety of the documents leaves much room for error. Last year alone more than 22,000 LPAs were rejected. By way of an example, instructing attorneys to provide support to loved ones, should they need it, may create a conflict with best interest rules and lead to your document’s rejection.
Secondly, the consequences of a rejected document may be great. Not only does resubmission cost a good deal of money (potentially hundreds of pounds), but an already lengthy application process is reset. A perfectly completed document, submitted to a perfectly efficient department, may take 10 weeks to process. In reality the process can take months. During the Covid 19 lock down, that period has proven longer still.
It is quite possible for one diagnosed with, for example, Alzheimer’s disease, to lose mental capacity before the process is complete, and miss their opportunity to register documents in the event of error.
We recommend seeking support when completing these documents. High street solicitor charges may fall in the range of £600-1,000 (inc VAT). Service is typically of good quality. Will writers who are members of professional bodies, offer a similarly good and potentially more cost effective solution in the £400-600 (inc VAT) range. We advise against using services which involve the completion of online questionnaires. In some cases, such documents may fail, even where completed well.
Confidence Wills offer a full one to one service, in person, at rates significantly lower than those set out above. We price check regularly to remain less expensive than other providers. This is a social, rather than a commercial decision, made further to our founders’ work in the field of dementia and brain trauma.