Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
What happens if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney?
If you cannot manage your own affairs due to an accident or illness, bank accounts, savings and investments may be frozen and property cannot be sold, leaving family or friends unable to access the funds they would need to help support you.
It can take around 6 months for a family member or friend to be able to take control of your affairs if they are successfully appointed as a deputy by the Court of Protection. The appointed deputy will then be under the supervision of the court and is usually required to submit detailed accounts. The Office of the Public Guardian charges a yearly fee to cover the cost of supervising the deputy’s work.
You can avoid your family having to experience this potentially upsetting, intrusive and costly process by creating a Lasting Power of Attorney.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document which allows a person (or persons) of your choice, to help you make decisions or actually make decisions on your behalf, when you have lost mental capacity or no longer wish to manage your own affairs.
The person(s) you appoint (known as attorneys) must have capacity themselves and are usually a close relative or trusted friend.
Once a Lasting Power of Attorney has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian it can be used as soon as needed. There are two types of LPA:-
Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney
A property and financial affairs LPA can be made to give your attorney(s) the right to make financial decisions, such as managing your bank accounts, paying bills and dealing with property matters. Once registered a property and financial affairs LPA can be used while the donor still has capacity, unless the LPA specifically states otherwise. This allows the LPA to be used in circumstances where the donor still has mental capacity but has a physical disability or mobility issues.
Health and Welfare lasting power of attorney
A health and welfare power of attorney can be made to give your attorney(s) the right to make personal welfare decisions on your behalf, such as where you might live, your daily routine, and the medical care you receive. A health and welfare LPA can only be used when it has been registered and the donor has lost mental capacity. When making a Health and Welfare LPA you have the option of whether or not you want your chosen attorneys to be able to make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment.
It is important to act now - you can only make a Lasting Power of Attorney if you are deemed to have the necessary capacity at the time of signing the LPA document(s).
FAQ - Why do I need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney, I have named executors in my Will?
Your executors in your Will have no authority until after you have died. A LPA appoints attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime if they need to, and their role will cease upon your death. Your executor(s) and chosen attorney(s) may of course be the same people but these are completely separate legal appointments.
If a friend or family member has already lost mental capacity, please see our deputyship page.