Lasting power of attorney

3. About LPAs

Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) let you choose a person (or people) you trust to act for you. This person is referred to as your ‘attorney’, and you can choose what decisions they are allowed to make for you.

There are two different types of LPA. One of them covers decisions about your property and finances, and the other covers decisions about your health and welfare. You can choose to make both types or just one. You can appoint the same person to be your attorney for both, or you can have different attorneys.

An LPA can only be used after it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The OPG is responsible for the registration of LPAs (for more information see ‘Office of the Public Guardian’ below).

Property and affairs LPA

A property and affairs LPA covers decisions about your finances and property. If there comes a time when you can’t manage your finances anymore, the person you appoint as your attorney will be able do this for you. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits, or selling your house. However, if you want to, you can limit the decisions they are allowed to make, or place conditions on what they can do.
Once registered, a property and affairs LPA can be used even if you are still able to deal with these things yourself.

Health and welfare LPA

A health and welfare LPA allows the attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your health and welfare, if there comes a time when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. A health and welfare attorney could make decisions about where you live, for example, or your day-to-day care, including your diet and what you wear.

You can also give your health and welfare attorney the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. You will be asked whether you wish to do this or not on the form, and you will need to state your intention clearly.

It’s important to be aware that this decision can have an effect on any advance decision that you have previously made. If you allow your attorney to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment, this will overrule your advance decision. If you choose not to give your attorney this power to decide on life-sustaining treatment, your advance decision will still stand.

As with a property and affairs LPA, a health and welfare LPA can only be used once it has been registered at the OPG. However, in contrast to the property and affairs LPA, it cannot be used while you still have the mental capacity to make decisions about your own welfare or treatment.