Can an LPA be Used Overseas?

There are many reasons why you might choose to work with a solicitor to put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. An LPA is an effective way to protect against the possibility that a time may come when you need support making decisions for yourself.

In many cases, an LPA comes into its own when it’s used to support someone who has lost mental capacity due to a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. What you may not realise is that an LPA can also be very helpful in situations when someone is temporarily unable to manage their own affairs due to an accident or sudden illness. 

However, simply putting these provisions in place might not be enough if you plan to move abroad. 

Are LPAs legally recognised in other countries?

The question of whether or not your existing LPA would be recognised overseas depends on which country you will be spending time in. 

Often, UK LPAs will be accepted in other countries, though you will usually need to take a few extra steps to be able to use them. Typically, you will be required to:

  • Produce a certified copy of your LPA that is signed by a Foreign and Commonwealth Office notary with an apostille (a type of international certification).
  • Have the LPA professionally translated.
  • Have the translated LPA notarised. 

Some countries will not recognise an LPA that has been made in the UK at all. This often won’t be a significant problem if you’re only visiting the country, but if you’re staying for an extended period, or if you own property or hold other assets there, it likely will be. 

In these cases, even if you needed them to, any attorney you had appointed in your LPA would not legally be able to act on your behalf in that country. This would mean they were not able to do things on your behalf such as access bank accounts and withdraw funds or sell property. If necessary, your chosen attorney would need to speak to a legal professional about making an application for the jurisdiction’s equivalent of deputyship.  

What precautions should you take if you’re moving abroad?

If you plan to move permanently to another country, or if you hold assets there, we’d recommend seeking legal advice about how any legal documents you already have in place may be affected.

A solicitor who works on cross border cases will be able to advise you on what the local rules on LPAs are in your chosen destination. It may be the case that your existing LPA can be made valid with only a few additional steps, such as the ones mentioned above. If this is the case, taking the time now to ensure that your LPA has been notarised and translated according to requirements could save a great deal of time and worry in the future.

You may decide to make a new LPA in the country you will be moving to. Even if your UK LPA would likely be accepted in your new home, making a dedicated LPA or equivalent document according to their jurisdiction could help to make things more straight-forward if it were ever needed. 

Making a dedicated LPA to address your interests in your country of destination would also give you the opportunity to consider whether you wish to appoint the same attorney as you have in your existing UK LPA. It might make more sense to appoint someone who is based in that country, speaks the language and understands the legal landscape there. Alternatively, you might wish to address this by appointing a local professional attorney to act alongside your loved ones.

The thought of working with an overseas legal professional can be daunting, especially if you’ll be doing so before you’ve even started the process of moving. This can be made easier by working with a solicitor in the UK who can liaise with a partner solicitor in the country you’re moving to. 

Not only will your UK solicitor be able to ensure you have an overseas LPA that addresses any interests you have in that country, they’ll also be able to make sure you’re UK LPA is up to date in order to protect any interests you’ll be retaining here.  

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