What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables your affairs to be managed by someone that you trust in the event that you lose the capacity to communicate for yourself. The loss of capacity can be as a result of a serious illness, or accident, where you may be mentally incapacitated or in a coma; or you may be suffering from the onset of some form of dementia.
The process of making and registering your Lasting Power of Attorney is overseen by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), and is tightly controlled within law under the provisions of the current Mental Capacity Act. Your Lasting Power of Attorney is a legally binding document that lets you (the Donor) appoint your chosen trusted representatives (Attorneys) to make financial decisions or health and welfare decisions on your behalf. Your Lasting Powers of Attorney can only be made if you have mental capacity.
There are two type of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- Financial Decisions Lasting Power of Attorney
- Health and Care Decisions Lasting Power of Attorney
1. Financial Decisions LPA
This LPA deals with decisions regarding the management of your financial and property affairs, such as:
- Opening, closing and using bank and building society accounts
- Claiming, receiving and using your benefits, pensions and allowances
- Paying your household and other expenses
- Paying your care fees
- Making or selling investments
- Selling or buying your home
With the Financial Decisions LPA, you decide when you want your Attorneys to act for you, unlike the Health and Care Decisions LPA, you do not need to have lost capacity.
2. Health and Care Decisions LPA
The Health and Care Decisions LPA deals with decisions regarding your health and welfare, such as:
- Giving or refusing consent on health care decisions
- Staying in your own home and getting help and support from social services
- Moving into residential care
- Choosing the most appropriate care home and facilities
- Day-to-day matters such as diet, dress or daily routine
This LPA also contains a section regarding your end of life decisions, and whether your doctors or attorneys should make decisions about accepting or refusing medical treatment to keep you alive, if you can’t make or understand that decision for yourself.
Most people want to make this decision for themselves, and may well have made this clear in an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (Living Will), relieving the burden that would otherwise be placed on their loved ones. Please click here for more information on Advance Decisions.
The Health and Care Decisions LPA can only be invoked when you have lost mental capacity.