A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to choose other people who they want to make decisions on their behalf including when they lack mental capacity to make the decision themselves.
It is ‘completed’ while the person still has capacity. It cannot be used before it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It can be used immediately after registration unless the person making the LPA has included a restriction that means that it cannot be used until they have lost capacity.
The person making the lasting power of attorney is legally referred to as the ‘donor’. The people (or trust corporation) chosen to make decisions on your behalf are your ‘attorneys’.
There are two types of LPA:
Property and financial affairs (allowing your attorney(s) to make decisions about paying bills, dealing with the bank, collecting benefits, selling your house, etc.)
Health and welfare (allowing decisions on care, medication, where you live, life sustaining treatment such as an organ transplant)
The benefits of making a lasting power of attorney
An LPA allows you to plan in advance:
- the decisions you want to be made on your behalf if/when you lose capacity to make them yourself
- the people you want to make these decisions
- how you want the people to make these decisions
If you lose mental capacity at some point – for whatever reason – if you haven’t completed an LPA, other people may need to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to make any decision on your behalf. This can be costly, and can be demanding and stressful for your relatives, friends and carers.
If you would like to speak to a Lasting Power of Attorney specialist in Blackpool please call 01253 629300 or contact one of our Probate team.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my attorney dies?
After registration: if you have one attorney and no replacement attorneys your LPA becomes unusable. If you have a replacement, they take over. Before registration: if you have capacity you can make a new LPA and choose a new attorney. Contact the OPG to discuss your options.
Can a property and financial affairs attorney give gifts on my behalf?
Unless you make a restriction stating otherwise, your attorney(s) will be able to give (limited) gifts on your behalf:
- to charitable organisations
- to relatives, very close friends and any attorney named in your LPA who is a relative or very close friend
- on birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc. when you would usually give gifts
- of a value that is appropriate to your assets
You cannot authorise any gifts which would exceed the attorney’s statutory power.
Can another attorney be added after the LPA has been registered?
No. If the donor has capacity to cancel the existing LPA he/she can do so and make a new one appointing a new attorney.
If the LPA is no longer valid can the donor make another?
Yes, but only if the donor still has the capacity to do so.
Can the registered LPA be cancelled or revoked?
Yes, the OPG can cancel registration on factual grounds (such as bankruptcy of the attorney) and the Court of Protection can terminate an LPA for other reasons (such as where the attorney is not carrying out his or her duties correctly). Alternatively, if the donor still has the capacity, they can revoke the LPA. They will be required to advise their attorney(s) and the OPG of the revocation so that we can remove the LPA from the register.
What if I want to register my property and financial affairs LPA but don’t want my attorney to act until I lack capacity?
You can include a restriction stating how the attorney must demonstrate this – e.g. ‘my attorney(s) must not use my LPA until they have obtained medical evidence stating that I have lost mental capacity’ however this may cause problems in practice.