A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document in which someone (the donor) gives another person (the attorney) the right to help them make decisions, or take decisions on their behalf.

There are two types of LPA:

  • property and financial affairs, which can be made for both personal and business reasons
  • health and welfare

LPA’s let the donor choose people to look after their affairs if they lose mental capacity or develop, or think they may develop, an illness that may stop them making decisions for themselves, for example dementia or a brain injury.

The donor can make one or both types of LPA. Donors should make an LPA while they have mental capacity.

LPA’s can only be used once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). OPG is a government body that keeps a register of LPA’s and investigates complaints against attorneys.

LPA for property and financial affairs

This LPA can be used to appoint attorneys to make decisions such as buying and selling property, operating a bank account, dealing with tax affairs and claiming benefits.

The donor can decide whether the LPA can be used as soon as it’s registered or once the donor has lost mental capacity.

LPA for health and welfare

An LPA for health and welfare can be used to appoint attorneys to make decisions on, for example where the donor should live, their day-to-day care (for example, diet and dress), who the donor should have contact with and whether to give or refuse consent to medical treatment.

The LPA can only be used once the donor has lost mental capacity to make a personal welfare decision for themselves.

An LPA is a powerful document and that before signing it you may wish to speak to any people you are considering appointing as your attorney, your GP and other relevant healthcare professionals.

Business LPAs

A business owner can make a separate LPA for property and financial affairs to appoint an attorney to make decisions about the business should they lose mental capacity. They can still make an LPA for their personal property and financial affairs.

Mental Capacity

The donor must have mental capacity to make an LPA. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005) someone is assumed to have mental capacity unless it can be proved otherwise.

A diagnosis of a mental illness does not automatically mean that you cannot have an LPA. It may however mean that specialist medical opinion may be required from your GP or Consultant.

Choosing an attorney

The donor will need to choose at least one attorney. The same attorney can be appointed for both LPA’s or someone different can be appointed for each. But it’s sensible to appoint more than one attorney in case one of them cannot act for the donor in the future.

Are you already acting as a Power of Attorney?

If you need support in your role as an Attorney for a family member or friend, we can guide you through what you can and can’t do – and help you keep proper records and accounts, as you are required to do.

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If you have any questions about LPA’s and would like to enquire further, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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