What is a Lasting Power Of Attorney?

This is a legal document that allows someone to choose other people who they want to make decisions on their behalf including when they lack mental capacity to make the decisions themselves.

When can it be made?

It is ‘completed’ while the person still has the ability to understand what they are doing (‘capacity’).  This process was designed to protect people who may not be able to make some decisions for themselves. It covers people in England and Wales.  If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, an LPA made in England or Wales will not be valid for property held outside those countries and you should seek independent legal advice in your country of residence.

When can it be used? 

It cannot be used before it has been registered with The Office of the Public Guardian.  It can be used immediately after registration unless the person making it has included a restriction that means that it cannot be used until they have lost capacity.

What types of Lasting Powers of Attorney are available?

There are two types: Property/Financial Affairs (allowing an attorney to make decisions about paying bills, dealing with the bank, collecting benefits, selling your house etc.) and Health/Welfare (allowing decisions on treatment, care, medication, where you live etc.).  These powers are separate and if you wish to apply for both, you will need to make two applications.

What is the role of the Office of the Public Guardian?

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is part of the Ministry of Justice.  The OPG manages the registration process of Lasting Powers of Attorney and they maintain a register of them all.  It also deals with complaints and concerns of the public in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorney, for example, where someone feels that an attorney is acting wrongly.

Who can make a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Anyone aged 18 or over with the mental capacity to be able make it.  We can advise you further on this.

What are the benefits of making a Lasting Power of Attorney?

An LPA allows you to plan in advance the decisions you want to be made on your behalf, if or when you lose capacity to make them yourself and the people you want to make the decisions.  You can also decide how you want the people chosen to make those decisions.  It is a safe way of maintaining control over decisions made for you because of the way you have to apply to the OPG and the way your attorney must act once appointed.