Lasting Power of Attorney in England and Wales
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a person to choose other people to make decisions on their behalf.
The ways people can plan ahead vary across the four nations of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and there are also some legal differences. The web pages in this section are about the ways people can plan ahead if they live in England and Wales. If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland you should ask a healthcare or legal professional to give you information that’s relevant to that country.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
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A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document. It allows a person to choose other people to make decisions on their behalf should they ever lack the mental capacity to make decisions themselves. The people chosen to make decisions on your behalf are known as attorneys. You can have more than one attorney.
There are two types of LPA that are valid in England and Wales:
Health and Welfare LPA - this allows your attorney(s) to make decisions about things such as treatment, care, medication and where you live.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA - this allows your attorney(s) to make decisions about things such as paying bills, dealing with the bank and selling your house.
Many people who choose to make a LPA will make both LPAs at the same time, but you can make just a Health and Welfare LPA, or a Property and Financial Affairs LPA if you prefer.
Why a Health and Welfare LPA may be helpful
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A Health and Welfare LPA can give you peace of mind because you know that someone you trust will act on your behalf if you become seriously unwell.
Whatever your loved one decides, that’s the way forward really.
For example, a person may decide to give Lasting Power of Attorney for their health and welfare to their adult son and/or daughter. By discussing their thoughts about any future healthcare decisions with their children, they can be sure that their care instructions will be followed if they’re unable to make their own decisions.
If you do appoint someone to be your attorney, choose someone who is like-minded and has a good idea of your preferences. They are more likely to make the decisions you would want.
You can only create an LPA if you are aged 18 or over and have capacity (are able to understand what it is and what it means for you). You can get forms for each of the LPAs from the Office of the Public Guardian.
LPAs must be registered with the Office of Public Guardian before they can be used. This can be done by you if you’re the person making the LPA (also known as the donor) while you’re still capable. Or your attorney can apply to register the LPA at any time before they need to use it. There is a fee to register an LPA. You can phone the Office of Public Guardian to find out the exact fees involved. If you’re on certain benefits you may not have to pay the fee or you may only have to pay part of the fee. The Office of Public Guardian will be able to advise you on this.
You may find it helpful to talk to a solicitor before making an LPA.
LPAs and Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment
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Before making a Health and Welfare LPA you’ll need to bear in mind that if you make an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment after creating a Health and Welfare LPA, this will overrule the LPA. This means that your attorney can’t make a decision about any treatment that you’ve decided to refuse in your Advance Decision.