What is Lasting Powers of Attorney?
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets the donor (the person making the LPA) appoint people (an attorney or attorneys) to make decisions on their behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if, for example, you have an accident or an illness and can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (i.e. you ‘lack mental capacity’).
There are two types of lasting Power of Attorney:
HEALTH AND WELFARE
This allows the Donor to choose one or more persons to make decisions in relations to:
- where the donor should live and who they should live with.
- the donor’s day-to-day care, including diet and dress.
- who the donor may have contact with.
- consenting to or refusing medical examination and treatment on the donor’s behalf.
- arrangements for the donor to be given medical, dental or optical treatment.
- assessments for and provision of community care services.
- whether the donor should take part in social activities, leisure activities, education or training.
- the donor’s personal correspondence and papers.
- rights of access to personal information about the donor.
This LPA can only be used when you are unable to make these decisions.
PROPERTY AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
This allows the Donor to choose one or more persons to make decisions in relation to money and property. For example:
- Paying bills or a mortgage
- Investing money
- Collecting pensions or benefits
- Drawing money out of the bank or building society accounts
- Selling the Donors home or property
- Arranging property repairs
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used as soon as it is registered, with the Donors permission.
The Lasting Powers of Attorney were created by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and they replaced the outdated Enduring Powers of Attorney.
If an older Enduring Power of Attorney has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, they can still be used in place of the Lasting Powers of Attorney. If you have an EPA that was set up before 1 October 2007, it is still valid. As under the pre-October 2007 system, the EPA must be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian once the donor loses capacity to make decisions. An
EPA cannot be used if the donor does not have capacity to make their own decisions until it has been registered. There is a fee of £110 to register an EPA. An EPA can still be registered after 1 October 2007, as long as it was validly created before that date.
Lasting Powers of Attorney also have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The current cost is £110 per LPA (November 2014). The LPA cannot be used without being registered, as it is a legal requirement.
An LPA can be cancelled if you no longer wish to use it, or simply wish to make another one to replace it.
The Office of the Public Guardian is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. As well as having a regulatory role, it provides help and support services to those who look after the finances of people who lack capacity. The OPG keeps a register of LPAs and EPAs, supervises, and keeps a register of deputies. It will also investigate any complaints about attorneys or deputies.