A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document that helps you to protect your interests and your family's interests when you have lost the mental capacity to make decisions on your own.
The lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the 'donor') appoint one or more people (known as 'attorneys') to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
This document gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can't make your own decisions (you 'lack mental capacity').
You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your LPA.
There are 2 types of LPA:
You can choose to make one type or both.
A Property and Finance LPA allows you to give your attorney the power to make financial decisions on your behalf.
This LPA gives an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
If you lose mental capacity and you do not have a Financial LPA, your Finances are at risk. Your family will have to apply to the Court of Protection to gain the legal power to manage your financial affairs which can take months and is very expensive. Many Local Authorities apply on your behalf so that they can take control of your finances to pay for care home fees etc.
A Property and Finance LPA can be used as soon as it's registered, with your permission or when a Doctor deems you to not having mental capacity to make your own decisions.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to give your Attorney the power to make decisions about your care and medical treatment if you are unable to do so yourself.
This LPA gives an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:
If you lose mental capacity and you do not have a Health and Welfare LPA the Doctor or the Local Authority will make care and medical decisions on your behalf. For your family to be allowed to make decisions that affect your life they will have to apply to the Court of Protection to gain the legal power to look after you which can take months and is very expensive.
A Health and Welfare LPA can be used as soon as it is Registered and your Doctor deems you to not have mental capacity to make your own decisions.
A Lasting Power of Attorney could be the most important legal document that you can have. If you ever lose mental capacity, which can be caused by a variety of conditions like dementia, coma, stroke, many illnesses, accidents etc, then an LPA legally allows someone you trust, normally your partner or your family, to legally act on your behalf.
This might sound unlikely for most of us, but if you consider that 1 person in 3 WILL get dementia in their life, the number of strokes in the UK are predicted to rise by 44% in the next 20 years and you only have to look at ROSPA's website to discover that there are millions of accidents every year in the UK, anyone of which could cause incapacity.