A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal tool that allows you to state who you would like to make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so in the future. It lets you choose a person (or people) you trust to act for you. This person is referred to as your attorney.
There are two different types of LPA: property and affairs LPA and health and welfare LPA. Each type covers different decisions and there are separate application forms for each. You can choose to make either types, or just one. You can have the same attorney for both, or you can have different attorneys.
A Property and Affairs LPA covers decisions about your finances and property. If you cannot manage your finances anymore, the attorney will do this for you. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits, or selling your house. It can then be used even while you have mental capacity to deal with these things yourself as long as you want this to happen.
A Health and welfare LPA allows the attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your health and welfare, if there comes a time when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. A health and welfare attorney could make decisions about where you live, for example, or day-to-day care including your diet.
You can also give your health and welfare attorney the power to accept or refuse life- sustaining treatment on your behalf. You will be asked whether you wish to do this or not on the form.
A health and welfare LPA can only be used once the form is registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and you are in a position where you don’t have the mental capacity to make decisions about your own welfare.
Benefits of making an LPA
There are a number of reasons you may wish to make an LPA:
It can be reassuring to know that, if you are unable to make a decision for yourself in the future, your chosen person will make these decisions for you.
Making an LPA ensures that the person you want to make decisions for you will be able to do so. This prevents a stranger, or someone you may not trust, from having this power. An LPA can reduce problems that may occur in the future. It can be more expensive and time- consuming for family or friends to try to gain a similar power in the future if you lose capacity before granting an LPA .
How to make an LPA
To make an LPA you will need to complete an LPA form. There are separate forms for the two different types of LPA. You can choose to fill in a paper form, or do it online.. The form must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used. There is a fee for registering each LPA, so if you are registering a property and affairs LPA and a health and welfare LPA, you will have to pay twice. You may be exempt from having to pay the fee if you cannot afford it.
Wills, LPAs and Estate Planning services are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority