Lasting Power of Attorney - (LPA)
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity at some time in the future or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
There are two types of LPA:
LPA for Property and Financial Affairs
This can be used while someone still has mental capacity but no longer wishes to make decisions of their own. An attorney (the person who makes decisions for you) can generally make decisions on things such as:
• buying and selling property
• paying the mortgage and other bills
• collecting benefits or a pension
• investing money
• arranging repairs to property
LPA for Health and Welfare decisions
This covers decisions about healthcare as well as personal welfare and can only be used once a person has lost mental capacity. An attorney can generally make decisions about things such as:
• where you should live
• your medical care and life-sustaining treatment
• who you should have contact with
• what kind of social activities you should take part in
You can restrict or specify the types of decisions your attorney can make or you can allow them to make all decisions on your behalf.
Lasting powers of attorney were introduced in October 2007, replacing the old system of enduring power of attorney (EPA). An EPA created before October 2007 remains valid.
Lasting Powers of Attorney are enormously useful but are also very powerful documents. Much like a Will, a LPA should be given due consideration before being made and it is always a good idea to get expert help.
A solicitor can assist with the arranging and registration of LPAs once they have taken time to get to know your circumstances and explain the features to you fully.
The cost of having professional advice and getting it right first time is considerably cheaper than having to approach the Office of Public Guardian to apply for a Deputy Order for a loved one.