For many of us, thinking ahead to what would happen if we were ever too ill or incapacitated to manage our own welfare and financial affairs is not a top priority. However by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) you can ensure that someone you trust can oversee your care, honour the decisions you make now about things like end of life choices, and generally act in your best interests.

Getting an LPA in place now can potentially save your loved ones hours of frustration and thousands in court fees in the future as they try to obtain the rights to manage your affairs.

The Clients

John and Barbara Etherington chose ZEDRA Estate Planning to handle the drafting of their LPAs.

John and Barbara are in their early 70s with a son and daughter and three young grandchildren. They have lived in Cheshire since 1990 and are now mortgage free. Following the death of a relative who had not put a LPA in place and having seen the issues that caused, they both felt it was time to get their affairs in order and draft LPAs in case either of them fell ill or became mentally incapable. Additionally, neither had previously drafted a Will so wanted someone to take care of that too.

The Challenge

John called our Knutsford office having been recommended to us by a friend who was an existing client of ZEDRA Estate Planning. After an initial consultation, we arranged a detailed follow up call  where John admitted he had already made two attempts at completing the LPA documentation himself online.

“I spent hours pouring over the forms and wasted over £160 in failed registration fees which was very frustrating. From my first contact with Sue and her team, the whole process went from painful to painless. She handled everything for us, it really was great.” John Etherington, Cheshire

The LPA application forms are 24 pages long and, whilst they request personal details and details of who is to be appointed Attorney/Attorneys, they also require less straightforward decisions to be made, such as how your Attorneys should act and whether there are any special Instructions or preferences to share. Failure to answer certain questions due to lack of understanding or misinterpretation results in the rejection of the application by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

Other errors commonly seen by the OPG are contradicting statements made, unlawful instructions given, missing pages and generally being unclear in the answering of questions.

The OPG receives on average 67,000 LPA applications each month and 15% of these are returned due to errors. John and Barbara were therefore relieved to be working with an expert rather than re- attempting the application process themselves.

The Outcome

Understandably, both John and Barbara were very frustrated by their experience trying to handle the LPA process themselves online. Within two weeks of our initial call, we had completed all the documentation for them. We then provided detailed instructions as to how the LPAs should be signed, dated and witnessed. The OPG says that signing the application in the wrong order is one of their most common reasons for rejecting applications and it is important that we can support our clients by explaining this aspect.

Once your completed application is returned to ZEDRA Estate Planning our expert team check that all is in order before lodging the documents with the OPG on your behalf. This ensures a thorough final review and the prevention of delays and potential increased fees if errors are found by the OPG.

If you are considering applying for a Lasting Power of Attorney or would like to know more about the process and how we can help, please call us on 01565 748 808 or email ukestateplanning@zedra.com.