A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people you trust (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions should you at some point in the future lose the mental capacity to do so yourself. Also, it can be used if you decide that you no longer want to make your own decisions.
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one for financial decisions and the other for health and care decisions.
Property and financial affairs LPA
An LPA for financial decisions can be used while you still have mental capacity or you can state that you only want it to come into force if you lose capacity. You can decide on the type of decisions your attorney can make for you or give them the authority to make all financial decisions on your behalf.
Examples of financial decisions an LPA can be used for:
- buying and selling property
- investing money and managing savings
- paying bills/mortgage
- arranging property maintenance and repairs
- collecting benefits or a pension
If you set up an LPA for financial decisions your attorney must keep financial accounts. Also, they must show that their own money is held separately to yours. You can request that your attorney provides you with regular updates of how much money has been spent and the balances of your accounts. If you lose capacity, these details can be sent to your solicitor or a family member, this will give you an extra layer of protection.
Health and welfare LPA
This type of LPA covers health and care decisions and can only be used once you have lost mental capacity. Your attorney will have the authority to make decisions such as the following:
- where you live (in your own house or care home)
- your healthcare and medical treatment
- who you should have contact with
- your daily routine, for example washing, dressing, eating
You can also give your attorney specific special permissions relating to life-saving treatments.
It is important to remember that if you are married or in a civil partnership and your spouse loses mental capacity you do not automatically have the authority to deal with their financial affairs or healthcare decisions. Without an LPA, you will not have the necessary authority.
More information on how to make and register a Lasting Power of Attorney can be found at the following website: https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney