Lasting Power of Attorney
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to choose someone to manage your affairs if in the future you lack the capacity to do so yourself. In order to make one you must be 18 or over and have the capacity to understand the decisions you are making.
What does it mean to lack capacity?
It means that you are unable to make a particular decision at the time it needs to be made e.g. if you were unconscious but needed to give consent for surgery. As you would be unable to do so someone would have to decide on your behalf. Any decision made on your behalf by another person must be made in your best interest.
Who can I appoint as my Attorney?
You can appoint a friend, relative or a professional. You are free to appoint more than one person if you prefer. This would be especially useful if you felt that one person would be good at handling your every day finances but would prefer someone else to manager decision about your long term care.
All attorneys must act in your best interest and abide by the Code of Practice.
What sorts of things are covered by an LPA?
There are two sorts of LPAs:
- Property and Affairs – this covers decisions about your finances and property and might allow your Attorney to manage your bank account, collect your benefits, make sure your bills are all paid up or sell your house.
- Personal Welfare – this covers decisions about your health and personal welfare and may include decisions about where you live or what medical treatment you receive.
When does an LPA take effect?
A Personal Welfare LPA will only take effect if you lack the capacity to make a decision for yourself. A Property and Affairs LPA can start operating as soon as it is registered or when you lose the capacity to make relevant decisions – the choice is yours. This means that someone with a Property and Affairs LPA could start to help you with things – like your money – even while you still have capacity if you would like them to.
If I make an LPA can I chose what is and what isn’t included in it?
Yes, most definitely. You are free to state what decisions your attorney can make on your behalf and any that you specifically don’t want them to make. In such cases you will need to be clear about what you would want to happen.
Is it necessary to register my LPA?
Yes. It is essential.
How do I register an LPA?
You will need to get the forms from the Public Guardianship Office (PGO) which can be contacted on 0845 330 2900. They have a website at www.guardianship.gov.uk with lots of useful information.
Once you have completed the forms please return them to the PGO. There is a fee payable for registration but there are exemptions for people on some benefits. The PGO will be able to provide you with up-to-date details of payments.
The LPA must name the people who should be told about your LPA e.g. health professionals or it should state that no one needs to be told. It would be helpful for the Trust to know if you have an LPA and the contact details of your attorney. In that way staff will be able to contact your attorney and ensure they have input into any decisions that may need to be made on your behalf.
Is the LPA still valid if I am detained under the MHA (1983)?
The LPA will still be valid, but there may be some decisions that the person with your LPA wouldn’t be able to take. For example, if you are detained in hospital, the person with the right sort of LPA could continue to help with your finances, but wouldn’t be able to stop you being given most sorts of medical treatment for your mental disorder. However, a person with a personal welfare LPA could still make decisions about medical treatment for physical disorders that were nothing to do with your mental disorder.
What happens if I don’t have an LPA?
If you don’t have an LPA, and lose capacity, other people (including professionals) still have to make decisions or provide care in a way that is in your best interests. The advantage of having an LPA is that less is left to chance – you can make the plans that best suit you.