A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you (the Donor) appoint someone (the Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf. A Lasting Power of Attorney allows your attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf if you become mentally or indeed physically incapable of looking after your affairs or yourself.

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney namely for Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare. Either can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare can only be used by your Attorney if you have lost the mental capacity to deal with your own health and welfare.

You cannot make a Lasting Power of Attorney once you have lost mental capacity. If a person has no Lasting Power of Attorney in place and loses the ability to manage their property and financial affairs or can no longer look after their own health and welfare, the Court of Protection may appoint a Deputy (which is a Court appointed Attorney) to make decisions on behalf of such a person. The process involved in such circumstances can be more expensive and take longer to organise.

Nobody can predict whether they may become mentally or physically impaired (or indeed when) and will need someone to look after their affairs. Such situations could be the result of an accident, illness or simply the ageing process. Having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place now ensures that your affairs are in order and that someone is appointed to assist (now or in the future) with your day-to-day management of affairs on an “in case” basis.

An LPA may never need to be used however the cost of making Lasting Powers of Attorney definitely outweighs the costs involved in making a Deputyship application with the Court of Protection.