What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

How to make an LPA and what the role of attorney entails

Last updated: 1 June 2017

If you lose the capacity to make important decisions at the end of life, due to an illness or other life-threatening conditions, a lasting power of attorney (LPA) gives someone else the responsibility to make decisions on your behalf.

Formerly known as enduring power of attorney, LPA is most commonly given to a loved one or relative. They will act in the role of attorney and make decisions should you be unable to do so. There are two types of lasting power of attorney:

  • Health and welfare (including decisions about your daily routine, medical care, moving into a care home, life-sustaining treatment)
  • Property and financial affairs (including managing a bank account, paying bills, collecting benefits and selling property)

You can choose to appoint an attorney for just one type of LPA or both.

The role of attorney

When your loved one takes on the role of attorney, they will be responsible for your estate and medical care. They will have the legal authority to make important decisions on your behalf, as long as these decisions to not conflict with any advance decision you may have made.

Therefore, it is vital that you choose someone you trust to act in your best interests. You may also want to make an advance care plan to clarify your end of life wishes.

How to make a lasting power of attorney

You must be 18 or over to make an LPA.

In England and Wales, you can make an LPA by registering it with the Office of the Public Guardian. You can download the appropriate forms online. It will cost £82 to register an LPA, unless you are entitled to an exemption or reduction.

Once you have registered an LPA, the attorney can be substituted with another at any time.

In Scotland, a power of attorney (PoA) must be drafted and signed by a solicitor, before being registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland). The registration fee is £75, unless you are entitled to an exemption.

In Northern Ireland, power of attorney may be referred to as enduring power of attorney (EPA), and should be made with the advice of a qualified solicitor. The Office of Care and Protection can provide more information on creating an EPA in Northern Ireland.