Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – a simple guide

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Including preferences in your LPA gives your attorney helpful guidance and instructions on what they can do on your behalf.

Most people know they should have a will – whether they have one or not!  But, what about a power of attorney?

When we die, our Will appoints executors to look after our affairs.  But what if we were to become ill, or incapable of looking after our affairs during our lifetime?  Who would look after things for us then?

Well, that’s why we should all have a power of attorney.  It’s the legally recognised ‘authority’ for our chosen attorney to look after things for us, where we become incapable of doing so ourselves.  Without it, nobody can step in and look after your affairs if the unexpected happens and you become ill, or incapable for example following an accident.

There are two types of LPAs – property & affairs, and health & welfare.

Property & Affairs LPA

This allows your attorney to deal with your finances, from your bank accounts, right through to selling your house.

Health & Welfare LPA

This allows your attorney to make decisions about any required care, ranging from which care home is used, through to refusing life-sustaining medical care.

Lasting Power of Attorney Jargon-Buster

Here are some commonly used LPA phrases explained:-

  • LPA – Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Donor – the person appointing the attorney
  • Attorney – the person who will act if needed (ie the person appointed under the LPA by the Donor
  • Witness – witnesses the signature of the Donor
  • Certificate Provider – certifies that the Donor is of sound mind, making the LPA of their own free will, and that they have the mental capacity to do so

Can my Attorney be a relative?

Yes – and they invariably are!  Attorney’s will often include spouses, and or children

How many Attorney’s can I have?

Technically there is no limit to the number of attorney’s replacement attorneys that you can have.  However, think carefully about the practical issues surrounding the appointment of lots of attorneys!  It is unusual to have more than 2 attorneys at any one time.

Joint or Joint & Several?

A joint appointment means all appointed attorneys must deal with all issues in agreement all of the time.

Joint & Several allows your attorneys to act joint or independently of each other.  This perhaps provides practical flexibility.

Instructions & Preferences give similar peace of mind to letters of wishes with wills

How do I appoint an attorney?

The process is relatively straightforward with prescribed forms to be completed.  These can be downloaded free from the website of the Office of the Public Guardian. Or, your solicitor can prepare the forms for you.

Can I appoint replacement Attorneys?

Yes – you can have replacement attorneys.

Can I restrict the powers of my Attorneys?

Yes, what your attorneys can and can not do can be restricted.  There is perhaps an argument that this should be a last resort as the whole point of an LPA is to allow life to go on even if we lose mental capacity.  So, why the tie the hands of your trusted chosen attorney’s?

LPA Certificate Provider

Somebody needs to formally confirm within the forms that you are of sound mind, and have chosen your appointed attorney(s) of your own free will (ie you aren’t being pushed into it).  This is called your Certificate Provider.

Who can act as my Certificate Provider?

You can either have a friend or colleague act as your Certificate Provider, or failing that a professional.

Who qualifies as a personal Certificate Provider?

This would be someone that is not related to you, or your attorney(s),  and is over.

Who can act as a professional Certificate Provider?

This can include your solicitor, doctor, or social worker.

Signing an LPA

Your LPA must be signed in a particular order.  That is:-

  1. Donor
  2. Certificate Provider
  3. Attorneys

When can my Attorneys act for me?

Finance appointments can be used as soon as registered (even if you still have capacity). This assumes you know and want them to help!

A Health and Welfare appointment can only be used AFTER you lose capacity.

Registration of an LPA

The forms must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.  You don’t have to register them when they’re made (though you can if you wish).  Many people opt to complete the forms but leave them unregistered until such time as they are needed.

How do I cancel an LPA?

You can cancel your LPA at any point so long as you have the mental capacity to do so.  There is a formal process to follow and you must register the change with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

Help with Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

If you need help with any aspect of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) please get in touch with our team of expert LPA solicitors. You can reach out to or call us on 03300 020 365

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