Lasting power of attorney
Appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf
What is a lasting power of attorney (LPA)
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 planning for the future.
What does a lasting power of attorney cover?
There are two types of LPA.
A health and care LPA lets your attorney make decisions about your medical treatment and day-to-day care. This can include where you live, what you eat, what medical treatment you receive and who you see.
A financial decisions LPA lets your attorney handle (and make decisions about) your money and property. This can include paying your bills, selling your property, collecting your pension and collecting your benefits.
Common reasons to have a lasting power of attorney
If you become unable to express your wishes, an LPA enables someone to step in and make decisions for you about your health and care or your finances. These important decisions will be made by someone you choose and trust and you can choose the right type of lasting power of attorney for your circumstances.
A lasting power of attorney is significantly cheaper than the alternative, which is a deputyship order. A lasting power of attorney comes into effect as soon as it’s needed, so your chosen attorney can step in straight away.
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 instructions for your attorney, as well as your general preferences for them to consider. Your LPA should reflect your particular wishes so you know that the things that matter most would be taken care of.
You can only put an LPA in place whilst you are capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document. If you lose this capacity, you cannot enter into a LPA and no one can do so on your behalf.
Many people don’t know that their next of kin has no automatic legal right to manage their affairs without a lasting power of attorney. Without an LPA, making decisions on someone else's behalf can be a long and significantly more expensive process.