Power of Attorney
There may come a time when, because you are incapable of managing your property and financial affairs and personal welfare, you will need someone to do this for you. You can formally appoint a friend, relative or professional to hold a lasting Power of Attorney that will allow them to act on your behalf.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in England and Wales
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint someone you trust as an ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf.
It can be drawn up at any time while you have capacity, but has no legal standing until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
A registered LPA can be used at any time, whether you have the mental ability to act for yourself or not.
You can create two types of LPA:
- Property and Affairs LPA
- Personal Welfare LPA
Property and Affairs LPA
A Property and Affairs LPA allows you to choose someone to make decisions about how to spend your money and the way your property and affairs are managed.
Personal Welfare LPA
A Personal Welfare LPA allows you to choose someone to make decisions about your healthcare and welfare. This includes decisions to refuse or consent to treatment on your behalf and deciding where you live. These decisions can only be taken on your behalf when the LPA is registered and you lack the capacity to make the decisions yourself.
Registering an LPA
Either you or your solicitor can apply to the Public Guardian to register your LPA. The application can be made at any time before you have made an LPA.
Before the application to register the LPA is made, the people named as being entitled to receive notification of the application must be told by the person who wants to register it.
The Public Guardian will give notice that the application has been received to:
- You as the donor
- The solicitor or solicitors.
Your relatives will not be notified of the application to register the LPA unless you have named them as being persons who should be given notice.
Anyone who has been notified can object to the LPA being registered.
Once the LPA is registered it continues indefinitely. The LPA can be registered by the solicitor after you have lost capacity.
Seeking Legal Advice
You may not be able to check up on the attorney yourself if you become incapable, so it may be a good idea to appoint more than one person to help prevent abuse of the responsibility.
Depending on the complexity of your property and financial affairs it may be a good idea to get advice from a solicitor before making an LPA.