Setting up Power of Attorney
By Ian Robinson
Setting up Power of Attorney
We explain how to set up Power of Attorney, plus Power of Attorney costs and forms.
There are two types of Power of Attorney - property and financial affairs, and health and welfare - and each requires a separate application. You can do this yourself or get a solicitor to handle the application for you.
Power of Attorney forms
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) has to be set up by the donor (the person whose finances or health and welfare it covers). They can apply directly to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), download the appropriate LPA application forms and return them by post. Forms can also be obtained by post from the OPG.
Choosing an attorney
As a donor, you give details of the attorneys you wish to appoint and the capacity in which you want them to act (jointly or 'jointly and severally'). Joint attorneys must always act together, while attorneys who are empowered to act ‘jointly and severally’ can use the Power of Attorney independently, which can be a more practical option.
It’s possible to impose various restrictions and conditions on your attorneys, although these may be rejected if they are unworkable.
Separate forms are also completed by a ‘certificate provider’ (often your doctor) who attests to your understanding (capacity), and by each of the attorneys you have chosen.
You, your attorneys and your witnesses will all need to sign the forms before they're submitted.
Power of Attorney cost
Once the Power of Attorney forms have been signed, you need to return them to the OPG with payment. The fee per Power of Attorney is £110; in Scotland it's £74.
Some people prefer to get their Power of Attorney prepared by a solicitor. This can prevent mistakes which sometimes cause an application to be rejected, but the cost of applying through a solicitor is considerably higher - some charge as much as £500, plus the £110 OPG fee.
It can take between eight and 10 weeks to register a Lasting Power of Attorney. The first step is to send a notification form (LP3) to all the ‘people to be told’, who you'll have listed in your application. They have three weeks to raise any concerns with the OPG.
Find out more: Which? Wills offers an online Power of Attorney service for those who require professional help to set up an LPA
Registered Power of Attorney forms
Once the OPG is satisfied, it will send back a stamped copy of the Power of Attorney, showing that it has been accepted and registered. Without the stamp of the OPG, an LPA is not valid and can't be used.
Although the registered Power of Attorney is sent to the donor who makes the application, it is sensible to pass the original document to the lead attorney, who can keep it safe until it's needed. If you have used a solicitor to make your application, they will often keep the PoA until one of your attorneys asks for it.
In both cases, you should obtain certified copies of the PoA, using these with banks and other institutions as required while keeping the original safe.
When the donor has lost capacity
It's not possible to set up Power of Attorney for someone who has lost mental capacity. Instead, members of their family will have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their deputies. Find out more in our guide to Deputies and the Court of Protection.
- Last updated: June 2016
- Updated by: Ian Robinson