What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby one person (referred to as the donor) gives another person the authority to make decisions on their behalf (referred to as the attorney). There are two different types of LPAs, one to manage your Property and Financial Affairs and the other to manage your Health and Welfare. Once registered, the Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used by your attorneys with your consent whilst you have capacity and the LPA can continue to be used when you lose capacity. However your Health and Welfare LPA will only come into force once you have lost capacity. Your Property and Financial Affairs LPA would allow others to deal with your banks, investments, paying bills and buying/selling your property. A Health and Welfare LPA would mean your attorneys could decide more personal matters for you such as where you live, your daily routine and the type of medical treatment you receive.

What is a General Power of Attorney? How is this different from an LPA?

A General Power of Attorney can be a quicker solution to someone managing your financial affairs as the registration of LPAs are currently taking up to 20 weeks. A General Power of Attorney is valid once signed and only deals with Property and Financial affairs and differs from a Lasting Power of Attorney as it will cease to be effective if the donor loses capacity.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)? How is this different from an LPA?

Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney in October 2007 and as such EPA’s can no longer be made after this date. However if you have an EPA which was made prior to October 2007 this will continue to be valid. An EPA is similar to a Property and Financial Affairs LPA in that the document appoints an attorney to manage their financial affairs however an EPA can be used unregistered if the donor still has mental capacity but if the donor lacks capacity, the EPA must then be registered to be used. LPAs were introduced as they are more detailed and it’s also important to note that an EPA does not cover Health and Welfare decisions.

How does the OPG’s ‘Use a Lasting Power of Attorney’ online service work?

The OPG are continually updating their website and have recently introduced their ‘Use a lasting power of attorney’ service which allows the summary of an LPA to be viewed online by organisations if they are given the relevant access code.  This new service allows people to create an account online and if you want to add an LPA to your account for people and organisations to view you will need the LPA reference number and activation key. The activation key will be sent to attorneys and donors once the LPA has been registered. An access code can then be created by the donor or attorney so they can give this code to organisations as a quicker and easier way for them to view the summary of an LPA. At the moment, those who have made LPA’s after 17th July 2020 will be able to use the online service. The OPG are still looking into how to expand the online service for LPA’s that were made before 2020.

What if you don’t have capacity to make an LPA? What is the Court of Protection?

If a person no longer has mental capacity and someone needs to manage their property or financial affairs then an application for a Deputyship Order will have to be made to the Court of Protection. Whilst you can make a Deputyship application for Health and Welfare decisions to be made, these are much harder to achieve. This process is more costly and time consuming compared to that of creating LPA’s and can be avoided by making LPA’s early on, whilst you still have the capacity to do so.

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