A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint people to help you make decisions or make decisions on your behalf. The people you appoint to help you are referred to as your ‘Attorneys’. An Attorney can be any person aged over 18. They do not have to live in the UK or be a British Citizen. You may wish to appoint a family member or friend, or you can appoint a professional such as an Accountant or Solicitor to act on your behalf.
You can only put an LPA in place whilst you have capacity. You must understand the nature and effect of the documents. If you lose capacity and someone needs to manage your affairs, they will need to apply the to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
There are two types of LPAs:
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives your Attorney(s) the power to manage your property and finances in the same way they could manage their own. For example, they could sell your property, open close and operate your bank accounts, deal with the sale of any other investments and manage any pensions, benefits or allowances that you receive.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to appoint Attorneys to make decisions on your behalf regarding your personal health and welfare. These decisions can only be made when you lack capacity to make these decisions for yourself, for example if you are unconscious or because of a condition such as dementia.
You can grant your Attorneys the power to make decisions regarding life sustaining treatment and other significant decisions such as the type of medical treatment and health care you could receive and making decisions about care homes.
The LPAs have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used. Once everything is in place you can have peace of mind that you have appointed someone to champion your best interests when you are unable to do so, whether it is caused by illness, old age or an accident.