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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

23rd February 2017

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to give another person the legal authority to make healthcare and/or financial decisions on your behalf. The person you appoint is called an Attorney and should be someone you know and trust.

For initial advice about making a Lasting Power of Attorney call 03306069591 or contact us online and we will help you.

In England & Wales there are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney:

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

You can have one or both types of Lasting Power of Attorney at the same time.

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney gives your Attorney the power to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

An Attorney’s powers cover both medical and personal welfare issues. This can include what medical treatment you have and where you should be cared for. An Attorney will also decide on day to day arrangements such as where you live, what you eat and who you have contact with.

Additionally you can give your Attorney permission to make decisions about whether or not you receive life-saving medical treatment. However this will not be possible unless it has been expressly stated in the document. Alternatively you can make a Living Will; Living Wills are not legally binding, but do allow you to formally express your wishes regarding health and welfare treatment.

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney only comes into effect if you lose mental capacity. According to the Mental Capacity Act, someone who lacks mental capacity has a disturbance of the brain or mind, making them unable to make decisions when they need to. Typically someone will lose mental capacity due to an illness such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney enables your Attorney to make financial decisions on your behalf.

You can choose the extent of their powers, which can include having access to your bank accounts, buying or selling your property, and paying your bills.

You can implement this type of Lasting Power of Attorney whenever you like. It can take effect immediately, or you can schedule it to be enforced at some point in the future, either before or after you lose mental capacity. This differs to Health and Welfare Power of Attorney’s, which are only applicable once mental capacity has been lost.

You may wonder why you would hand over power to someone else when mental capacity has not been lost. However, there may be circumstances in which an individual is unable to manage their own finances, perhaps due to being abroad.

Making a Lasting Power of Attorney

You must make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) while you still have mental capacity. Nobody can make a Lasting Power of Attorney on your behalf.

As the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney, you are known as the Donor. You need to think carefully about who to appoint as your Attorney(s). You can have different Attorneys for the two different LPAs, and there is no limit to the number of Attorneys you can have, although between one and two is most common.

If you don’t make a Lasting Power of Attorney and you do lose mental capacity in the future, your loved ones will not be able to manage your affairs until they have obtained a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection; this will take much longer and cost a lot more than making a Lasting Power of Attorney.

For initial advice about making a Lasting Power of Attorney call 03306069591 or contact us online and we will call you.

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