Lasting Power of Attorney
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the donor) choose trusted people (attorneys) to make decisions on your behalf. An LPA is mainly used if you don't have the mental capacity to make decisions yourself.
Mental capacity: definition
'Mental capacity' means the ability to make a decision. A person with mental capacity has at least a general understanding of the decision they need to make, why they need to make it and the likely consequences. Sometimes people can make some kinds of decisions but don't have the mental capacity to make others.
An LPA helps you control decisions that affect you, even when you cannot make them yourself. An LPA allows you to plan and choose:
- What decisions you want to be made on your behalf
- Who will make those decisions
- How you want them to make those decisions
What an LPA covers
There are 2 types of LPA:
Property and financial affairs
This LPA covers your money and property. You don't have to own your own home or have a lot of money to make this type of LPA. It can be used on your behalf, with your consent, as soon as it's registered. However, you can state that it will only be used if you don't have mental capacity.
Health and welfare
This LPA covers your personal and health care. This type of LPA can only be used if you don't have the mental capacity to make decisions yourself.
You can use it to let your attorneys decide about your daily routine, such as what you wear and eat, moving into a care home or getting help from social services. You can also give your attorneys the power to refuse or agree to any medical treatment you may need to stay alive, if ever you are unable to make that decision. If your attorneys don't have that power, doctors would decide.
Protecting your interests
Your attorneys must always act in your best interests and follow any instructions you give them about making decisions. These instructions can include:
- Whether attorneys make all or some decisions together or individually
- Conditions or restrictions on how attorneys make decisions
- You can also include preferences to guide attorneys’ decision-making in a way that reflects your beliefs and values.
Your attorneys can only make decisions that you've allowed them to make in your LPA. For example, if your LPA is for your property and financial affairs, your attorneys can't make decisions about your care or where you live. If your LPA is for your health and welfare, they can't make decisions about your money.
Code of practice
Attorneys must follow the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice. The principles are:
- Your attorneys must assume that you can make your own decisions unless they establish that you can't do so.
- Your attorneys must help you to make as many of your own decisions as you can. They must take all practical steps to help you to make a decision. They can only treat you as unable to make a decision if they have taken those steps without success.
- Your attorneys must not treat you as unable to make a decision simply because you make an unwise decision.
- Your attorneys must act and make decisions in your best interests when you are unable to make a decision.
- Before your attorneys make a decision or act for you, they must consider whether they can achieve the same result without restricting your rights and freedoms so much.
An LPA can't be used by your attorneys until it's been registered by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Before an LPA is registered, OPG must be sure that:
- The LPA is legally correct
- The LPA has no errors
- People have had the opportunity to object if they have concerns
OPG can ask the Court of Protection to remove invalid instructions and preferences so that an LPA can be registered. A donor who still has mental capacity can ask OPG to cancel their registered LPA if they change their mind. OPG protects people who don't have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. If someone raises concerns about how an attorney is acting under an LPA, OPG will investigate or work with other organisations to address complaints.
We charge £410:00 per person which includes all Office of the Public Guardian Fees