Power of Attorney

Plan in case you lose mental capacity

One person in the UK develops dementia every three minutes. Yet relatives can't just walk into a bank and access your money, even if it is to pay for your care. Unless you've a Power of Attorney, loved ones would need to apply through court, which can be long and costly. So get it sorted – this guide shows you how.

While every effort's been made to ensure this article's accuracy, it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. We can't assume responsibility and don't accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it. This guide has been written with the kind help of the Alzheimer's Society and Age UK.

What is Lasting Power of Attorney?

Thinking and talking about what would happen if our faculties deserted us is uncomfortable. Yet it's important to consider how much worse the situation would be if you had a stroke, serious accident or dementia (for example, Alzheimer's) without sorting it first.

If someone has difficulties that mean they can't make decisions anymore, they will need help managing their finances. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document where someone – while they still have mental capacity – nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs if they later lost capacity. The key point to remember...

Don't think you suddenly give up control. You can choose whether it can be used either before, or only when, you lose mental capacity.

Your representative (known as the 'attorney') should only ever make a choice for you if you're unable to make that specific decision at the time it needs to be made. For example, if you fall into a coma, your attorney would start looking after your affairs. But if you wake from the coma, you should be able to make your own decisions again.

It's worth noting LPAs replaced the previous Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) system. EPAs set up before 1 October 2007 will still be valid, whether or not they have been registered, though they must be registered when the person loses capacity. For more, see the Government's EPA info.

Why set up a Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you lose mental capacity, unless you've already filled in the Power of Attorney forms, your loved ones will need to apply through court to become 'deputy', a long and expensive process.

Instead, you can nominate a trusted friend or relative before you lose capacity, by setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). You can appoint one or more representatives to act for you, and can determine how they work together to make decisions on your behalf.

You may be thinking "this doesn't affect us, we're perfectly well". This is a common misunderstanding. The key thing to remember is...

You can only set up a Lasting Power of Attorney when you have mental capacity. Once you've lost capacity, it's too late.

The key is to act early. This story from Forumite Norma Desmond explains why:

My mum is deputy (via the Court of Protection) to my dad, who has advanced dementia. It's a very long, drawn out and quite intrusive process.

It's also expensive. Mum will have to pay hefty yearly fees too. I just wish we'd managed to get Power of Attorney instead, when Dad was more capable. He got ill very fast and we couldn't implement it.

How much does a Power of Attorney cost?

There's a compulsory cost of £82 to register a Power of Attorney (in England and Wales – it's £85 in Scotland, £165 in Northern Ireland). If you earn less than £12,000/year though, you can provide evidence to pay a reduced fee of £41. Those on certain benefits (this link downloads a PDF list of the qualifying benefits) are exempt from fees.

It's £82 for the property and finance LPA. The health and welfare LPA is also £82, so if you get both, that's £164.

Above and beyond that, if you decide to use a solicitor you'll also have to pay legal fees, though it's possible to set up a Power of Attorney on your own. See how to make a Power of Attorney.

What to do next

The action to take depends on the situation. We use the word 'they' below for simplicity, but, of course, you can set up a Power of Attorney for yourself as well.

  • If they still have capacity. This is the best time to act. If the person still has capacity and would like to make arrangements in case they lose mental capacity, they can set up an LPA.

    Once the LPA is submitted, the Government says it can take up to 20 weeks to register. The power will take effect as soon as the LPA is registered, so the attorney will be able to start making decisions straightaway, unless they specify otherwise on the application. See more on this in how to make a Power of Attorney.

  • If they've lost capacity. If a spouse, relative or friend already has limited mental capacity, but didn't set up Power of Attorney in advance, it gets more difficult. You need to become a deputy of the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf. See how to become a deputy.

  • If they still have capacity but need help managing money. In some cases, a friend or relative may still be able to make decisions, but may need help with the practicalities. For example, some people struggle to make phone calls or get to the bank. There are a few options that can help – see helping someone manage their money

The Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

Mention a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and many will automatically think of a person's finances, but in England and Wales there are actually two types to consider: one for property and finance, and another for health and welfare. Because we're MoneySavingExpert.com, this guide concentrates on the finance and property one, although the processes are similar for both.

In a nutshell, the health and welfare document sees a nominated individual make decisions over day-to-day healthcare and medical treatments, as well as deal with any health and social care staff.

It's also worth noting these are two separate legal procedures that are independent of one another.

Just because you give the trusted person Power of Attorney over your health, that doesn't mean they will automatically gain control over your financial affairs and vice versa. If you require the same individual to have Power of Attorney over both aspects of your care, then you will have to fill in the two forms separately.

Another key difference is that the health and welfare LPA can only be used after the person loses capacity, not before. For more help on setting up a health and welfare LPA, see the Government's health and welfare LPA info. For those who want to decide any 'advance decisions' – for example, you don't want certain types of medical treatment in certain situations, if you lose capacity in future – you can make a living will.

In Scotland or Northern Ireland?

In Scotland, there are three Powers of Attorney: one for financial matters, called a continuing Power of Attorney; one for personal welfare, a welfare Power of Attorney; and a combined Power of Attorney that covers both continuing and welfare, which is the most common. For full details, see the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) and Alzheimer Scotland's Money and Legal Matters guides.

For Northern Ireland see NIdirect's Power of Attorney info.

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Watch Martin's video briefing on Power of Attorney

Here's Martin's 'Power of Attorney: crucial financial protection' video briefing on why it’s so important, how to get one and more. Click the dropdown below to read a transcript.

ITV's The Martin Lewis Money Show Live – Tuesday 21 November 2023

Martin Lewis explains why a Power of Attorney is crucial protection and more important than a will.
Embedded YouTube Video
  • Read a transcript of what Martin said on the show…

    Martin Lewis: "Really important, this; I think Power of Attorney is more important than a will. A will decides what happens to your assets if you die. Power of Attorney, what happens to your assets if you lose your faculties – you're still alive and you may have your own care and family that you need to look after, but you're no longer capable of doing it yourself.

    "So it's a 'Lasting Power of Attorney'. Now, it used to be 'Enduring Power of Attorney'. In Scotland, it's 'Continuing Power of Attorney'."

    Martin Lewis: 'I've had a Power of Attorney for a decade now. It's not just for the elderly'

    "Power of Attorney. Right, this is where you nominate a friend or relative to take over your finances if you lose your faculties. Doing it does not mean you give up control now. It does not mean that. There are safeguards in place. You nominate other people to check whether it's right that you've lost your faculties or not, and don't think this is just for the elderly. I mean: accidents, stroke, early onset dementia.

    "I actually – the other day I was talking to a young couple who were expecting their first child. They were talking about how they were helping their elderly relatives do a Power of Attorney. And I said: 'Have you done one?'

    "And in the pause that followed, I said: 'This is what I want you to think of. Heaven forbid one of you were to have an accident and you lost your faculties. Are your finances such that only you individually – and most couples these days have separate finances – can access your finances?' And they both nodded: 'Yeah'.

    "And I said: 'Well, in that case, if you were to lose your faculties and the other was locked out, what would the financial consequences be to the other partner?' They said it would be terrible. Well, you either need a Power of Attorney or you need to fundamentally reorganise the way that you do your finances.

    "Power of Attorney is not just for the elderly. Everybody in this room should be considering one. I've had one for a decade now. I have no foreseeability of losing my faculties.

    "You've got something?"

    Jeanette Kwakye (Martin's co-host): "We have, from Fraser. Now, Fraser said: 'I did a Power of Attorney. The next week I ended up in hospital after a car crash. My Power of Attorney could deal with everything. They were amazing and it was worth every penny'. Just goes to show..."

    Martin: "Not just for the elderly."

    Jeanette: "Yeah."

    'Without a Power of Attorney, sorting your finances is generally much harder'

    Martin: "Without a Power of Attorney sorting your finances, it is generally much harder. Do not assume your family can access your funds – even to pay for your mortgage or your care if you need it. They'd need to apply via the Court of Protection or the equivalent in other countries. And I just get swamped with how long it takes, how expensive and how stressful it is. I bet you've got comments on that?"

    Jeanette: "I have. And this is from Alex. This is heart-breaking, Martin. Alex says: 'When my wife was 33, she suffered a severe brain injury. We had no wills and no lasting Enduring Power of Attorney. I had to go to the Court of Protection with the help of a very expensive solicitor and take deputyship. It is a nightmare. Costs a lot of money. I wish we had done this before it was too late.' Really, really difficult situation."

    Martin: "To face that and think he's having to deal with that at the same time as his wife's just had a brain injury. Power of Attorney is important. To get one, you apply via Gov.uk. It costs £82 in England and Wales, slightly more in Scotland, £151 in Northern Ireland. You can do it yourself if you're good and you have simple circumstances.

    "If you really want to make sure you do it right, and if you can afford it – I would suggest you do – solicitors charge normally £200 to £500. You can get partial help, so you do it and they have legally qualified people who overlook it from Which? Wills, which is £99. But there are some websites you can get that for a little bit cheaper.

    "Look, Power of Attorneys aren't perfect. They're not quick, but they are better than having nothing at all. I am, of course, talking about the financial Power of Attorney. There's one for health and welfare where you make the health and welfare decisions too. But obviously that's not my bag, but it's still important to look at."

    Power of Attorney: You need to do what the person would have done if they still had their faculties

    Jeanette: "And this is from Bill, Bill's based in Scotland. 'I am a Power of Attorney for my parent who has dementia and in a care home. I'm terrified of getting into trouble spending their money. But I would like to arrange Christmas monetary gifts for the children and grandchildren. What is deemed as acceptable?'"

    Martin: "So, really interesting. How much room, Austin [referring to solicitor Austin Lafferty, who is appearing as an expert on this episode], does he have to make those decisions himself for his parent?"

    Austin Lafferty: "Well, it needs to be reasonable. It needs to do what the adult would have done if she was still compos mentis ['of sound mind']. As long as it's normal gifts – Christmas is obviously a time for giving – and it's not trying to pockle a tax. It's not trying to do, you know, cover up for [a] care costs assessment. And it's not greed, then it should be OK.

    "If in doubt, take advice from other members of the family. Let people know what you're doing. Note everything. My wife's a maths teacher, she says: 'Tell me what your working is to get to the result', and all of that is fine. Also, the Scottish Government has issued a code of conduct for attorneys, which you can get through the Office of the Public Guardian in Scotland. They're a fantastic organisation."

    Martin: "And they've got a free helpline as well, I believe. Yeah. I mean, it's an interesting way to work it round, isn't it? The fact that he's asking that question in front of millions of people probably means he's not trying to be dodgy, because that would be pretty stupid."

    How to protect yourself from someone abusing a Power of Attorney

    "Just, turn it round, Melinda [referring to solicitor Melinda Giles, who is also appearing as an expert in this episode], for a second. People worried about getting Power of Attorney in case someone's trying to diddle them. What protections are in place for me from somebody trying to defraud me if they're my Power of Attorney?"

    Melinda Giles: "Trying to make a fraudulent Lasting Power of Attorney for you?"

    Martin: "No, they've already done the Lasting Power of Attorney – using my money in a way I wouldn't want it to be."

    Melinda: "Well, you can notify people when you are making a Power of Attorney. So those people will be aware who your attorney is and can check out what's going on. If you then have concerns about the way someone is managing that money, you can make a report to the Office of the Public Guardian, slightly different in England."

    Martin: "And the person you've notified could do it for you if you're no longer compos mentis?"

    Melinda: "Anybody. Anybody concerned about the way someone's money is being dealt with can make that concern."

    Martin: "So, I have Power of Attorney set up. I have a number of friends who are there, who should independently check that if that were to happen, it should be done right. And that's the way to go through.

    "Let's move on quickly; once your Power of Attorney is active – so once a person is not compos mentis and you're having to do it for them – register with banks and services as soon as you can, don't wait until you need it, because it takes time.

    "How you do that depends on when your Power of Attorney was registered:

    • "So if it's 2016 to 2020, set up an account on Gov.uk and then you get a code that you can give to the banks that lets them know you're legit Power of Attorney.
    • "If it was after that [2020], the activation key is actually on the registration letter, or if you don't have that, go to Gov.uk.
    • "If it was before [2016], or you're in Scotland and Northern Ireland – that's only for England and Wales [above] – you need a paper certificate. Give banks certified copies, not original. That basically means signed by a solicitor or signed by the relevant office. Don't do one at a time when you're going to get those, get them en masse. Otherwise it's an absolute – have you done this? [Referring to an audience member.] It's an absolute nightmare otherwise.

    "If you're going into a branch as a Power of Attorney, book an appointment, make sure you allow time or ask them. Some of them have dedicated phone lines.

    "I'm really pleased. The way they deal with Power of Attorney has improved a lot over recent years. Did a survey last year; 12,000 people who've got Power of Attorney – Lloyds, Halifax, TSB: 60% of people or more said they were 'great'. First Direct, Santander, Nationwide, NatWest: 50% said they were 'great'.

    "You don't get 'great' in customer service surveys that much. So, that means that actually, and this is great for dealing with Power of Attorney, things are better than they used to be on that."

    The difference between wills and Power of Attorney

    Jeanette: "And James has got a question on just that. 'What is the difference between being Power of Attorney and executor of a will? Who has the power over a will if there are two people with the different responsibilities mentioned here?'"

    Martin: "Forgive me being blunt, James. Power of Attorney; when you're alive. Executors; when you're dead."

How to make a Power of Attorney

It's vital the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) understands what the forms mean. Of course, there's a trust issue here. While we don't want you to be overly cautious, sadly, in some cases, family or friends may be after someone's money. Ensure they (or you) feel comfortable with the choice and consider involving the whole family.

Step 1: Decide whether to use a solicitor

The first decision is whether or not to use a solicitor. If you're fairly legally and financially literate, the DIY route will save you about £200 to £500 in legal fees.

The Government has made the process easier than it used to be, and there's a chance your local Citizens Advice centre may be able to help.

However, the LPA is a powerful legal document. You may wish to get a solicitor to help if you're unsure about the process, the family does not get on or there are complex assets, such as businesses or overseas property.

If so, use the Law Society's Find a Solicitor tool. If appropriate, there's also The Association of Lifetime Lawyers (formerly known as Solicitors for the Elderly), a network of more than 1,500 solicitors specialising in issues affecting older people.

£84 Which? Power of Attorney code

Update 30 January 2024: We’ve had reports of some users in Scotland having trouble getting the relevant paperwork from their GPs, which means they effectively need to pay a solicitor anyway. If this is you, Which? told us it’s ‘relaxing when refunds are offered to Scottish customers’ and to contact it on 0117 456 6023.

A halfway house between the DIY route and paying £100s for a solicitor is Which? Wills*, where you fill in a questionnaire, the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is populated for you, and then crucially it's checked by a qualified paralegal.

The standard cost for the financial LPA is £99, but we've blagged the following deals. To get the discount, follow the link and choose your area (it automatically adds the code).

  • England and Wales. A property and finance or health and welfare LPA costs £84.15 each (usually £99 each). Alternatively, you can get both LPAs for £168.30 (usually £198).

  • Scotland. Which? only charges one fee of £84.15 (usually £99) for the combined continuing & welfare Power of Attorney. Please note in Scotland only a solicitor who is registered to practise law in Scotland or a UK medical doctor can complete the required 'certificate of capacity' to ensure that you understand what you are doing. We've heard that some GPs are reluctant to do the and solicitors are quoting £350+. Please check the cost of a certificate of capacity before buying this deal.

  • Northern Ireland. You pay only one fee of £84.15 (usually £99) for an Enduring Power of Attorney.

You will still need to pay any application fees separately, for example, £82 to the Office of the Public Guardian for a Financial LPA in England and Wales. (If you want the health and welfare one too, you need to pay another £82.)

How it works

Once you've purchased the service, you fill in an online questionnaire which automatically populates the government application forms. You complete it in your own time – call 0117 456 6023 if you need support. 

Which? specialists will also check and review your application within two weeks. Once it's approved, you follow Which?'s guidelines to sign and send off the forms.

Step 2: Doing it yourself? Make your application via the online form

If you've chosen the DIY route to make your Power of Attorney, follow the steps to apply online if you're in England or Wales. You'll still need to print out the forms and sign them after you fill them in online. Alternatively, you can download the forms and fill them in.

The person making the Power of Attorney and their chosen representative/s must sign the forms. If you get stuck filling them out, call the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300.

The Power of Attorney can be used as soon as it's registered, unless you specify that the representative is restricted to making decisions only after the person loses capacity.

Finally, a 'certificate provider' signs the form to verify the person understands what the Power of Attorney means.

Who can do this

In England and Wales, a certificate provider can be someone the person making the LPA has known for two years. Or it can be someone who has a professional skill or knowledge about their situation, such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor. Family members cannot be certificate providers. This definition includes:

  • Spouse, partner or civil partners (or people living together as such)
  • Children, grandchildren (including step-children)
  • Parents, grandparents (including step-parents)
  • Brothers, sisters (including half-brothers and half-sisters)
  • Aunts, uncles
  • Nieces, nephews
  • Someone related by marriage (such as a son-in-law or daughter-in-law)

A full list of who can and cannot be a certificate provider can be found on Gov.uk.

In Scotland or Northern Ireland?

In Scotland, you can download the forms from the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland). For help, call 01324 678 398.

In Scotland only a solicitor who is registered to practise law in Scotland or a UK medical doctor can complete a 'certificate of capacity' to ensure that you understand what you are doing. They will usually charge a fee for this.

In Northern Ireland, you can download the forms from the Department of Justice. And here you don't need a certificate provider at all. There's more on how the process works in NIdirect's Power of Attorney info.

Double-check names and dates of birth are correct – small mistakes like this mean many applications are rejected.

There's further advice on how to fill in the forms on Gov.uk. Again, before signing, it is worth thinking about what Power of Attorney means; there's good further help and guidance at Age UK, the Alzheimer's Society and Mind.

Step 3: Register the Power of Attorney

The next step is posting the application to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to register it. Full steps to registering can be found on Gov.uk.

You can register the LPA either before or after someone loses capacity (provided they signed the forms while well). Registering early allows time to correct errors and means it's ready to use if urgently needed.

Once the Power of Attorney's registered, the nominated representative will be able to make choices for the person (known as the 'donor'). The representative can only make decisions the donor's unable to make at the time that particular decision needs to be made.

The application costs £82 to register (in England and Wales – £85 in Scotland, £165 in Northern Ireland), though if you earn less than £12,000/year, you can provide evidence to have a reduced fee of £41. It's £82 for each of the finance and health LPAs, so if you get both, that's £164. Those on certain benefits are exempt from fees.

The OPG also has discretion to waive fees in cases of financial hardship. If the fees would cause you real hardship, call its helpline on 0300 456 0300 to ask for the forms.

Quick questions

  • How long does registration take?

    Once you register the forms, in most cases the OPG just rubber-stamps the agreement, though it looks further into a small proportion of cases. The OPG aims to complete registrations within 20 weeks.

    People then have three weeks to object if they think the person making the LPA was pressurised or lacked capacity when they filled in the forms. The Court of Protection decides if the objection is justified.

    If the person who is making the Power of Attorney objects, the process stops completely. The only way to register the LPA would be to apply to the Court of Protection to establish they did not have the capacity to object.

  • When is the Power of Attorney activated?

    The Power of Attorney is activated as soon as it's registered, so the attorney will be able to make decisions on behalf of the donor straightaway, unless otherwise specified in the application.

  • What obligations do representatives have?

    Representatives have a duty to act in the donor's best interests and only make choices the Power of Attorney's terms allow them to make. If you are concerned a representative is abusing their role, report a concern.

If they've already lost capacity...

If someone's unable to look after their affairs but did not set up Power of Attorney in advance, carers need to apply to the Court of Protection. The court will appoint a deputy to make choices about the person's finances, usually a family member or close friend.

There are two types of deputy: a deputy for property and financial affairs, and a deputy for personal welfare. The court decides whether a person who may have lost capacity is able to make decisions for themselves and if the friend/relative is the appropriate deputy.

The Scottish system works slightly differently. You need to apply for 'guardianship' at the local Sheriff Court – full details at the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland).

How to find a solicitor

It costs £371 to register as a deputy and legal fees can be £1,000 or more (if you choose to use a solicitor). If the court decides the case needs a hearing, you'll need to pay £494 on top of that. 

Deputies also have to pay an initial charge of £100 and ongoing supervision fees, which depend on the supervision level. These fees are £320 a year, unless you require minimal supervision, then it's £35. Read the Government's full guide to the deputy system.

Those on low incomes or on certain benefits can get the fees reduced or waived. See the Government's full list of fees.

It can be a long and costly process. Consider using a solicitor with specialist expertise. Try the Law Society's Find a Solicitor tool or, if appropriate, try The Association of Lifetime Lawyers (formerly known as Solicitors for the Elderly), a network of more than 1,500 solicitors specialising in issues affecting older people. Ask if it's a fixed fee.

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How to help someone manage their money

In some cases a friend or relative may still be able to make decisions, but need day-to-day help with filling in forms or calling banks.

There are a few options that can help:

  • Consider a third-party mandate

    Together, you could consider a third-party mandate. This lets a bank give someone access to another's account. The account holder specifies what the other person can and can't do with the account, so they must still be able to decide what to do with their money. The application procedure varies between banks. Call and ask how to apply.

  • Become an appointee

    In certain circumstances, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) can appoint a friend or relative or a representative of an organisation (like a solicitor or member of the council) to receive someone else's benefits and to use that money to pay expenses such as household bills, food, or accommodation. Apply via the DWP.

    This usually happens when the individual has lost capacity, or when they have capacity but an exceptional, severe physical disability makes it hard for them to collect benefits.

  • Lasting Power of Attorney

    A Lasting Power of Attorney covering issues of property and finance allows the donor to specify whether it can be used before the loss of capacity, or only when they lack capacity. So if someone, for example an elderly relative, follows the steps above and specifies this, you will be able to deal with their affairs while they still have mental capacity.

  • Pay bills by direct debit

    Consider switching to paying bills by direct debit. These automatic payments can help people simplify their finances, helping to budget and ensure bills get paid.

    They should (possibly with your help) keep checking bank statements, making sure there's enough cash in their account, or the bank may charge them.

    You even get a discount from many companies for paying this way. A warning though: while direct debits for gas and electricity bills, home phone and broadband can save you money, home and car insurers charge interest for doing so.

  • If they're in debt, seek non-profit debt help

    If someone you know is in severe debt trouble, encourage them to seek help from a non-profit debt-counselling agency immediately.

    For a full list of these agencies
    , see our Debt help guide.

Did you register a Power of Attorney between 2013 and 2017? You may be owed a refund

If you paid to register a Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017, you're owed a refund of up to £54. (While the deadline to apply online has passed, it's still possible to apply by email, phone or post.)

Back in 2018, the Ministry of Justice announced that people who paid to register a Lasting Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 were owed money back, after fees were set too high.

Refunds are owed because the full application fee for registering a Power of Attorney remained at £110 between 2013 and 2017, even though the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian had dropped. The full fee was reduced to £82 in April 2017.

As the fee is simply supposed to cover operating costs, the Government is now repaying the difference between what applicants paid and what they should have paid, plus interest.

  • How much can you reclaim?

    This depends on when you paid for the Power of Attorney, and whether you paid the full registration fee or the half-price fee:

    Refund for each Power of Attorney

    When you paid the fee Refund if you paid the full fee  Refund if you paid the half-price fee (1)
    Apr 2013 - Sep 2013 £54 £27
    Oct 2013 - Mar 2014 £34 £17
    Apr 2014 - Mar 2015 £37 £18.50
    Apr 2015 - Mar 2016 £38 £19
    Apr 2016 - Mar 2017 £45 £22.50

    (1) Available to those who had an income of less than £12,000/yr or were on certain benefits.

    If you registered for both types of Power of Attorney – both health and welfare, and property and financial affairs – you can claim for both, meaning a refund of up to £108.

    Some people on certain means-tested benefits will not have paid to register a Power of Attorney and so will not be eligible for the refund.

  • How to claim

    You can make a claim for a fee paid to register a Lasting Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017. You can claim whether you were the donor (the person who made the Power of Attorney) or the attorney (the person appointed by the donor), though the refund will be paid to the donor. You can claim even if the Power of Attorney's been used. See details on Gov.uk.

    • You can call the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300.
    • Apply by email to poarefunds@justice.gsi.gov.uk
    • By post to POA Refunds Team, Lower Ground Floor, Office of the Public Guardian, PO Box 16185, Birmingham, B2 2WH.

    To apply, you don't need the Power of Attorney document itself, but you will need:

    • The donor's name, address and date of birth.
    • Their UK bank account number and sort code.
    • The name of one of the attorneys on the Power of Attorney.

    Here are the other key need-to-knows:

    • You only need to make one claim for each donor – even if you've made multiple Powers of Attorney.
    • If your claim is refused and you want to appeal the decision, you can call the refunds helpline.
    • If the donor doesn't have a UK bank account or you're a court-appointed deputy, you'll have to apply by phone.
    • You can also claim for an Enduring Power of Attorney if you registered it in the relevant period. The Lasting Power of Attorney replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney on 1 October 2007, but it's possible someone could have drafted the latter before the cut-off date and registered it during the refund period - and so would be eligible.

    If the donor has died, you can still claim. You'll need to send a copy of the donor's death certificate and will, or a grant of representation such as a grant of probate or letter of administration, along with your contact details.

More help and info

If you're struggling with any of the issues raised here, try visiting a Citizens Advice centre. If someone's suffering from dementia, MoneySavers say the Alzheimer's Society's help is invaluable. You should also talk to your GP and (if applicable) social services. Other great sources of info include Age UK and Mind.

The following guides may also be relevant:

  • Make a will. While you're setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney it's a good time to ensure you've an up-to-date will. Solicitor-drafted wills can be cheap or even free to make or amend. Find info on all the options in Cheap and free wills.
  • Do a 10-minute benefits check. Do check what benefits you're entitled to. A quick Benefits check will show if you qualify for extra help.
  • 50 MoneySaving tips for the over-50s. Whether your half-century is on the horizon or long gone, the older you are, the more your cash needs to look after you. To help, we've 50+ over-50s' MoneySaving tips guide. It covers everything from freebies and discounts to how to convert a pension into an annuity.
  • Stop scams. Scam letters often target vulnerable older people, usually hoaxing people into thinking they need to send cheques to secure lottery wins or to get prize holidays. If you're worried about this, charity Think Jessica has more advice on its site.

    There are loads more tips to beat junk calls and post in the Stop cold callers guide.
  • Death happens – plan for it. Death causes financial tragedies as well as grief. Hopefully you live happily to 120, but there are ways to lessen the impact when it happens. Our Death happens – plan for it checklist should help, including how to make a financial checklist for family and how to arrange who'd care for children and pets.

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