Lasting power of attorney

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.

There are two types of LPA:

  • Property and affairs LPA
    This gives the attorney(s) the power to make decisions about your financial and property matters, such as selling a house or managing a bank account. The attorney(s) can make a decision on your behalf, even if you have the mental capacity to do so, unless you have stated otherwise.

  • Personal welfare LPA
    this gives the attorney(s) the power to make decisions about your health and personal welfare, such as day-to-day care, medical treatment, or where you should live. The attorney(s) can only make a decision if you lack the mental capacity to do so at the time the decision needs to be made.

LPA is different from deputyship because an attorney is appointed by an individual while they have capacity in preparation for when they lose capacity.  A deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection once an individual lacks capacity.

How does it work?

You can only set up a power of attorney while you still have the ability to evaluate information and make decisions for yourself, known as 'mental capacity'.
It is an ongoing arrangement with no expiry date that will allow another person to make decisions on your behalf. An LPA has to be registered with the government, through the Office of the Public Guardian.

When will this happen?

To apply for LPA, you must be 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions).

LPA is generally used when you are facing an illness or believe your mental capacity might deteriorate and want to make sure you have someone that you trust in place to handle your affairs.

The role of parents and carers

Parents and carers can support you in deciding whether LPA is an appropriate choice. If you decide to apply for LPA, your parents or carers may be the person you choose to be your attorney(s).