A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This provides you with more control over what happens to you in the future, if you are unable to make your own decisions or you no longer wish to make decisions yourself. For example, you may have an accident or suffer from an illness such as dementia which leaves you unable to make necessary decisions (you “lack mental capacity").
At the time of making an LPA you must be 18 or over and be able to make your own decisions (i.e. you must have "mental capacity"). You can appoint one or more people (known as "attorneys") to make decisions on your behalf.
There are two types of LPA:
- Property and financial affairs;
- Personal welfare
You can choose to make either or both types of LPA.
Having an LPA in place puts you firmly in control of your affairs: you can decide exactly how much authority your chosen attorney(s) should have, and whether to impose any restrictions on their power. As with drafting a will, it is an essential part of planning for your future.