What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows someone you trust to manage your affairs in the event that you lose the mental capacity to do so yourself.
What is the Difference Between a Power of Attorney and a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is an umbrella term which refers to a number of documents that include: an Ordinary Power of Attorney, a Lasting Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney.
An Ordinary Power of Attorney is similar to a Lasting Power of Attorney in the sense that they both allow someone (an attorney) to look after someone else's (the donor) affairs.
One major difference is that an Ordinary Power of Attorney comes into effect as soon as it is signed, giving the attorney immediate power to manage issues such as health, finance and property on behalf of the donor. Ordinary Powers of Attorney are useful in situations where the donor goes on holiday for an extended period and needs someone else to look after their affairs whilst they are away.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document which grants an attorney the power to look after the donor's affairs. However, the attorney only gains the power to do so if the donor loses their mental capacity, for example if they develop a neurological condition or are in a coma.
In short, a Lasting Power of Attorney acts as an insurance policy, ensuring that the donor's affairs can be looked after if the donor is unable to do so themself, whereas an Ordinary Power of Attorney is more often used as a temporary mechanism where the donor can pass the responsibility of their affairs onto someone they trust for personal reasons (as opposed to medical).
What is the role of a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) acts as a sort of insurance policy, giving someone (an 'attorney') the power to manage your affairs should you lose the mental capacity to do so yourself.
There are two different types of LPA (see our section on Types of Lasting Power of Attorney for more information) and, depending on which type of LPA you register, they give your attorney the power to manage either your Health &Welfare or Property & Finance.
What Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Cover?
There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA):
Health and Welfare; and
Property and Finance.
As the names suggest, a Health and Welfare LPA covers issues relating to the donor's health, wellbeing and medical care, whilst a Property and Finance LPA covers issues relating to the donor's finances and any property they own.
See our section on Types of Lasting Power of Attorney for more information.
Can You Have More Than One Lasting Power of Attorney?
Yes. There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) - see our section on Types of Lasting Power of Attorney to find out more about the different types and you can have both LPAs active at the same time.
How Long Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Last?
Once an LPA is registered, it lasts indefinitely until one of a few things happen, which includes if:
The donor dies.
All of the attorneys die.
All of the attorneys revoke their consent.
The donor revokes the LPA.
If none of these events have occurred, the LPA should be considered active.
How Long Does a General Power of Attorney Last?
A General Power of Attorney (otherwise known as an Ordinary Power of Attorney) is active from the moment it is declared until the donor revokes the document. (See our section on revoking a Power of Attorney for more information).
What is the Difference Between a Continuing and a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Continuing Power of Attorney is name for a document that is used in Scotland. If you live in England or Wales, you should only familiarise yourself with Lasting Powers of Attorney and not Continuing Powers of Attorney.
When Did Power of Attorney Change?
The last major updates to the legal framework surrounding the creation of Lasting Powers of Attorney, and the phasing out of Enduring Powers of Attorney, was around 2007.
See our section on legal changes to Lasting Powers of Attorney for more information.
Who Should Make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
It is advisable that anyone over the age of 18 makes a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). Whilst it may seem unnecessary to have an LPA in place without a significant health condition, no-one knows what could happen to them.
Should something happen to you, LPAs put you in the best place to both receive the care that you want to receive and to ensure that your property and finances are being looked after by someone you trust. It is especially advisable that elderly individuals create an LPA as they may be more likely to need the support that an attorney can provide.
Please note that someone who is deemed to have lost mental capacity cannot create an LPA. For more information, see our section on how people are adjudged to have lost mental capacity.
Who Can Be an Attorney in a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 can be chosen to be an attorney in a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). It is advisable that you choose someone you trust to be your attorney, as well as someone who is competent at making financial decisions should you register a Property and Finance LPA.
How to Get Power of Attorney if the Donor is Incapacitated.
If a donor has lost mental capacity, then they can not prepare a lasting power of attorney. This is because they are either unable to make decisions altogether, or there would be significant questions regarding the validity of their instructions to a solicitor.