In England and Wales, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows an individual (the ""donor"") to appoint one or more people (known as ""attorneys"") to make decisions on their behalf, particularly if they lose mental capacity. There are two main types of LPAs:
Health and Welfare LPA: This gives attorneys the authority to make decisions about the donor's healthcare, living arrangements, and medical treatment. It can only be used when the donor lacks the mental capacity to make such decisions.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA: This empowers attorneys to manage the donor's financial matters, such as handling bank accounts, paying bills, and managing property. It can be used as soon as it is registered, with the donor's permission, even if they still have mental capacity.
Creating an LPA is a proactive step for individuals to plan for the future, ensuring that their affairs are managed by someone they trust in case they become unable to make decisions for themselves. It provides a legal framework for decision-making that can offer peace of mind to both the donor and their loved ones. LPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to be valid and effective.