Lasting power of attorney

Who will deal with your affairs if you lose mental capacity?

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) gives another person or persons (known as your 'attorney(s)') the authority to act for you if you are unable to do so yourself. That authority continues even if you lose the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.


If you do not have an LPA in place and you lose mental capacity, it will be necessary for someone to make an expensive and time consuming application to the court in order to act on your behalf. This can take several months and it is not uncommon for it to take 6-9 months.


There are two types of LPA, namely:

  1. Property and financial affairs
  2. Health and welfare.

You can have either or both types of LPA.


LPA for property and financial affairs

This type of LPA allows your attorney to deal with your financial affairs, for example to pay your bills, sell your property or investments and operate your bank accounts. Unless you specify otherwise in your LPA, your attorney can use your LPA while you still have capacity to make financial decisions yourself. If you allow your attorney to make decisions before you have lost mental capacity, it does not mean that they automatically take all financial decisions for you, it just means that they can take these decisions if you allow them to at the time. This can be helpful if you are unwell or on holiday for an extended period of time.


LPA for health and welfare

This type of LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about matters such as your medical treatment, your diet, where you live and how you spend your time. Unlike the LPA for property and financial affairs, your attorney can only use it when you have lost the mental capacity to make decisions yourself.

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