What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone (or more than one person) that you trust as an Attorney to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
There are two types of LPAs and you may make either one or both of them. The first LPA is called a Property and Affairs LPA and the other is called a Health and Welfare LPA.
The Property and Affairs LPA allows your Attorneys to make decisions such as the buying and selling of property, operating a bank account, dealing with tax affairs and claiming benefits. This Lasting Power of Attorney can be used whilst you still have capacity, for instance if you were out of the country, and also continues after mental capacity has been lost if this occurs.
A Health and Welfare LPA can cover decisions such as where you should live, consenting to or refusing medical treatment on your behalf and day to day care.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be made by anyone who understands the nature of the document they are signing and should be made by someone well in advance of the document actually being needed. It is useful to consider it as insurance "just in case". It also means that in the event of a sudden accident causing a lack of capacity the LPA is immediately ready for use. The Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. There is a Court fee payable and this is £110 for each Lasting Power of Attorney but if your income is less than £12,000 or if you are in receipt of certain benefits the fee may be reduced to £55. You will need to provide proof of your income which is sent to The Office of the Public Guardian.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can help you plan how your health, well-being and financial affairs will be looked after, it allows you to decide :
- who is to act as your Attorney (s)
- the decisions you want to be made on your behalf should you lose capacity
- how you want these decisions to be made
- who acts as your Attorney with regard to your property and financial affairs and who acts as Attorney for your health and welfare – these can be different individuals in each of the LPAs
- whether you wish to include a condition that means the Attorney can only act on your behalf and make decisions when you lose the ability to do so yourself.
- whether you wish to include an Advance Directive (also known as a Living Will) in your Personal Welfare LPA as this can outline what your instructions are regarding your end of life wishes.
Please be aware that the above is a simple summarised explanation of Lasting Powers of Attorney based upon the law as at April 2014 and is subject to change. For specific advice in relation to your individual circumstances please contact a member of the team below.