Lasting Power of Attorney

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime. The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called the Attorneys. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a completely separate legal document to your Will although many people put them in place at the same time as getting their Will written as part of wanting to plan for the future.

Why is a Lasting Power of Attorney so important?

Once you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you can have peace of mind that there is someone you trust to look after your affairs if you became unable to do so yourself during your lifetime. This may occur, for example, because of an illness or old age or an accident.

Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place can allow your attorney to have authority to deal with your finances and property as well as make decisions about your health and welfare. Your Lasting Power of Attorney can include binding instructions together with general preferences for your attorney to consider. Your Lasting Power of Attorney should reflect your particular wishes so you know that the things that matter most would be taken care of.

You can only put a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place whilst you are capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document i.e. you have the required legal capacity. After this point, you cannot enter into a LPA and no one can do so on your behalf.

 

Two types of Lasting Power of Attorney are available under English law:

  • Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

 

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to name Attorneys to make decisions about your healthcare, treatments and living arrangements if you lose the ability to make those decisions yourself. Unlike the Property and Financial Affairs LPA, this document will only ever become effective if you lack the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.

A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to name Attorneys to deal with all your property and financial assets in England and Wales. The Lasting Power of Attorney document can be restricted so it can only be used if you were to lose mental capacity, or it can be used more widely, such as if you suffer from illness, have mobility issues, or if you spend time outside the UK.