Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which gives someone you trust permission to make decisions on your behalf, if you become unable to make decisions yourself. The person you choose to make the decisions is called an attorney. You can have more than one attorney.

There are two types of LPA in England and Wales:

  • A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney (or attorneys) to make decisions about things such as your treatment, care, medication and where you live.
  • A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorney (or attorneys) to make decisions about your finances and your property.

You can only create an LPA if you are aged 18 or over, and can understand what it is and what it means for you. You can create your own Lasting Power of Attorney, but you may want to get help from a solicitor. They can make sure it meets legal requirements. LPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used – this can take several weeks.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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 for 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 in England and Wales:

  • A Health and Welfare LPA – This allows your attorney (or attorneys) to make decisions about things such as treatment, care, medication and where you live.
  • A Property and Financial Affairs LPA – This allows your attorney (or attorneys) to make decisions about things such as paying bills, dealing with the bank and selling your house.

Many people who choose to make an LPA will make both LPAs at the same time. But you can make just one of them if you prefer.


Why a Health and Welfare LPA may be helpful

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 ill.

For example, a person may decide to give a Health and Welfare LPA to their adult son or daughter, or both. They can then discuss their thoughts about any future care decisions with their children. The person can then be sure that their care instructions will be followed if they are unable to make their own decisions.

If you do appoint someone to be your attorney, choose someone who shares similar opinions and ideas to you and has a good idea of your wishes. They are more likely to make the decisions you would want.

My friend set up Power of Attorney should she become unable to manage her affairs. With everything in place, we were able to concentrate on her care.

Julie


Making an LPA

You can only create an LPA if you are aged 18 or over, and are able to understand what it is and what it means for you. This is called having mental capacity. You can get forms for each of the LPAs from the Office of the Public Guardian.

Although you can create your own Lasting Power of Attorney, you may want to get help from a solicitor. The solicitor will make sure that it meets all the requirements of the law. If you do not have a solicitor, you can find one by contacting the Law Society of England and Wales.

LPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.

This can take up to 10 weeks. If you are the person making the LPA (also known as the donor), you can register it while you are still able to. 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 the Public Guardian to find out the exact fees involved. If you are 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 the Public Guardian will be able to give you advice about this.


LPAs and Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment

If you have made an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) before creating a Health and Welfare LPA, in which you give someone else the power to refuse medical treatment on your behalf, your ADRT will be invalid.

If you make an Advanced Decision to Refuse Treatment after creating a Health and Welfare LPA, your LPA will be invalid. This means that your attorney cannot make a decision about any treatment that you have decided to refuse in your ADRT.

Back to Advance care planning in England and Wales

Planning ahead

Planning ahead can help people know what care you would like if you become unable to make choices yourself.

Making a will

Having an up-to-date will ensures that your wishes for who you would like to leave your estate to are guaranteed.

Your wishes for your care

When planning ahead, it is important to think about how and where you would like to be cared for.

Funeral planning

Planning your funeral in advance means your family and friends can arrange the type of funeral you would like.