An LPA is a legal document which authorises other people to make decisions on their behalf when they lack mental capacity to make the decisions themselves. It cannot be used before it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It is then ready for use should the person granting the power lose capacity. The person making the LPA is legally referred to as the “donor”. The people chosen to make decisions on the donor’s behalf are called “attorneys”.
There are two types of LPA:
- Health and Welfare (allowing decisions on treatment, care, medication, where you live, etc)
- Property and Financial Affairs (allowing an Attorney to make decisions about paying bills, dealing with the bank, collecting benefits, selling your house, etc).
If you made an Enduring Power of Attorney before 1st October 2007, it can still be registered and will still be valid. If you have an EPA, please note that this will authorise the attorney to deal only with the donor’s property and financial affairs. You may therefore wish to supplement the EPA by putting in place a Health & Welfare LPA.
LPAs allow you to plan in advance:
- The decisions you want to be made on your behalf if/when you lose capacity to make them yourself.
- The people you want to make these decisions
- How you want the people to make these decisions.
Having an LPA is a safe way of maintaining control over decisions made for you because from a legal perspective, your attorney(s) must follow the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its Code of Practice – if they don’t always act in your best interests, the Office of the Public Guardian can step in, and your attorney(s) may be held accountable.
If you lose mental capacity at some point – for whatever reason – if you haven’t completed an LPA, other people may need to apply to the Court of Protection to be able to make any decision on your behalf. This can be costly, and can be demanding and stressful for your relatives, friends and carers.
One of the main advantages of an LPA is that it is a relatively low cost method of enabling your chosen attorney(s) to manage your financial affairs should you become incapable – a Property and Financial Affairs LPA will therefore always be advisable. Whether or not you go further and set up a Health and Welfare LPA may depend upon whether or not you are concerned about how future issues concerning your health and social care are resolved. If a Health and Welfare LPA is in place the attorney(s) named in that LPA will be able to make the decisions which you would have made had you been capable and you will therefore, through your attorney(s), be able to influence the way that future health and social care issues are decided.
How can we help you?
Bramhall Solicitors can help you by providing you with a high quality legal service.
Our starting point is that our clients need looking after. Legal matters can be stressful – so, whether you are moving house, dealing with bereavement, trying to work out what you should do in your Will or facing family issues, we will make it our priority to provide you with all the legal support and advice you need.