What Is A Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) is a legal document that lets you, the “donor”, appoint one or more people as your “attorneys” to make important decisions regarding your health and financial affairs on your behalf.

You must be at least 18 and have mental capacity in order to make an LPA, however should you ever lose capacity in the future, the LPA will continue to be effective and enable your attorneys to manage matters that may have become too difficult for you to manage yourself.

There are two types of LPA:

  1. An LPA granting authority in relation to your financial decisions

This type of LPA can allow your attorneys to pay your bills, operate your bank accounts and manage or sell your property or investments, should it become necessary. With this type of LPA, you may also specify that you would like your attorney to act whilst you still have capacity.

  1. An LPA granting authority in relation to your health and welfare

This type of LPA can only be used if you have lost mental capacity, and enables your attorneys to make decisions concerning your health and your welfare, such as which medical treatment you may receive, decisions about your diet, where you live and how you spend your time. This LPA also enables you to decide whether you would like your attorney to be able to refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf.

Your attorneys must act in your best interests at all times, and must assist you in making the decision yourself before they make the decision for you.

An LPA will not become effective until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”). The OPG have a fee of £82 (correct as at the time of writing) for registering each LPA.

On 1 October 2007, LPAs replaced the old form of Enduring Powers of Attorney (“EPA”).  EPAs did not require registration until you had lost capacity, and so it would most likely be the case that if you previously put an EPA in place, you will need to register it in order for it to be effective.  It is of course still possible to register your EPAs with the OPG, for the same fee as mentioned above.

In the event that the donor has already lost capacity and is therefore not in a position to be able to make a LPA, you may need to consider making an application to the Court of Protection to become a deputy for the donor instead.

For assistance with making an LPA, registering your old EPA or becoming a deputy for somebody who has already lost capacity, please do get in touch with Laura Sentkovsky in the Private Client team at laura@meaby.co.uk or on 0207 703 5034.

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