The simple answer is, yes, as Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is only relevant when someone is alive, not after they have passed away. This is when probate comes into force.
An LPA is ‘a legal document that lets you (the donor) appoint one or more people (known as attorneys) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf’.
When choosing a lasting power of attorney, it’s imperative that you choose someone who you trust, as it hands over more control to them in circumstances such as when you have an accident or illness – anything that prevents you from making your own decisions.
There are two types of LPA – ‘health and welfare’ or ‘property and financial affairs’.
Health and welfare LPA
This particular LPA hands over control from yourself over to someone who can make proactive and safe decisions on the following:
- the daily routine including washing, dressing and eating, for example
- whether someone needs to be moved into a residential care home
- provision of any required medical care
- life-sustaining treatment, such as being on a life-support system
Property and financial affairs LPA
- collecting benefits or a pension on behalf of someone incapacitated
- managing access to a bank or building society and paying regular bills
- selling a home at such time when it becomes necessary to pay for care, for example
Choosing an LPA
You can choose more than one LPA but if choosing more than one, you must decide whether they make decisions separately or together. Regardless of this, the LPA(s) need to be someone you trust, such as a friend, a relative or a professional person, such as your solicitor.
To make it easier, you could consider the following:
- how well do you know them i.e. are they are life-long friend of a friend you’ve had for only a couple of years, for example
- how sensible and responsible are they with their own financial and personal affairs
- how comfortable they will be making some really important life decisions on your behalf and in your best interests
Making an LPA
This can be done either online or using a paper form, which can be found here.
Probate comes into force once someone has passed away. Also known as estate administration, probate is ‘the legal process of transferring ownership of the money, property or assets of someone who has died’.
If someone has made a will – which is highly recommended – they will have been asked to appoint someone (or people) as an executor(s). If they die without a will – or intestate – an administrator may possibly be appointed to carry out the actions stipulated in the will and ensuring all assets are transferred to the correct parties or in accordance with intestacy rules.
You can apply for probate either online or via post. To be able to do this online, you need to have some idea of how much the estate is worth, to find out if inheritance tax needs to be paid. If it does, forms will need to be sent to HMRC prior to applying for probate. Probate can take between 6 months and a year to complete.
Here at St Helens Law, our expert team can help you with engaging LPAs, advise on probate and can help with drafting wills. Contact our Wills & Probate Team on 01744 742 360 or email us on email@example.com.