A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that enables you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf or to help you make decisions. The person or people that you appoint are known as ‘attorneys’ and you have to make your LPA while you have mental capacity. This means you are able to make your own decisions.

There are two types of LPA and you can choose to make either one or both of them.

Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare

If you have been diagnosed with an incurable illness, you might want to consider making a health and welfare LPA. Should you become unable to make your own decision, this LPA will enable your attorney(s) to make decisions and speak with your voice about such things as your daily routine (such as washing, eating and dressing), medical care and life-sustaining treatment.

If you have written an advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT), or are thinking about writing one (see our article on planning care in advance, it’s important to note that:

  • if you create an ADRT after an LPA for health and welfare, your attorney cannot consent to any treatment refused in the ADRT, as long as that advance decision is valid and applicable
  • if you create an ADRT before an LPA for health and welfare, the LPA will take priority if both documents deal with the same decision.

Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs

By creating this form of LPA, you will enable your attorney(s) to make decisions about property and money for you. This could cover such things as managing your bank and building society accounts, paying bills and selling your home.

You don’t need to have lost your mental capacity for the LPA to be used. With your permission, it can be used as soon as it has been registered.

Letting someone else have control of your financial and legal affairs is an important decision. You may want to get advice from a solicitor, who would charge you a fee.

Choosing your attorney

This is a very personal decision and should be based on who you feel will know you and your wishes well enough and is someone that you trust. Also consider if they would be happy making decisions for you.

Your attorney must have mental capacity, be 18 years of age or over and could be:

  • your husband, wife or partner
  • your child
  • another relative
  • a friend
  • a professional, such as a solicitor.

If you are choosing more than one attorney, you must decide if they will make decisions separately or together (known as ‘jointly and severally’). This means that the attorneys can make decisions on their own or with the other attorneys.

You could also decide that you would want your attorneys to always (or sometimes) have to agree on the decisions (known as ‘jointly’).

Making an LPA

  1. Choose your attorney(s).
  2. Fill in the form(s). You can make either or both of the different types of LPA online or using paper forms. The forms will need to be printed off if you have filled them in online and then signed by your attorneys and witnesses as well as by you.
  3. Register your LPA by sending it to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). You will need to do this before your attorneys can make decisions for you. It will take up to 20 weeks for your LPA to be registered.
  4. Let your bank and doctor, together with any other relevant organisations, know that you have made your LPA(s). Also remember to keep them up to date as an attorney’s contact details might change or you may wish to change or remove them. You can also cancel an LPA at any time, as long as you still have mental capacity.

GOV.UK has an online  service to create a Lasting Power of Attorney with step-by-step guidance. It is free to complete the LPA online and there is an £82 application fee for each LPA you are registering.

Find out more

Read the Make, register or end a lasting power of attorney articles  on GOV.UK.

Related pages

  • Planning for death: it's important to think, talk about and plan for death. Here we look at physical and emotional and financial planning, considerations for your digital assets and the best way to share your plans.
  • Making a will: ensure that you have your estate protected for those people you leave behind and know that your wishes will be upheld.
  • Planning your funeral: for some people this can be a comforting thing to do and we give advice on paying for your funeral as well as the most important considerations when thinking about your own funeral.

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