Lasting power of attorney

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 aims to protect people aged 16 and over who are unable to make certain decisions for themselves, perhaps due to learning disabilities, mental health problems or because of an illness, for example dementia.

The Mental Capacity Act enables people to choose someone to manage their finances and property should they become incapable of doing so, or to make health and welfare decisions on their behalf. This needs to be carefully thought out and the best way to do this is to plan for the future by drawing up a legal agreement known as a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

The Office of the Public Guardian (part of the Justice Department) can give you more information, including the Code of Practice and other guidance.

There are two types of LPA:

  •  A property and affairs LPA enables you to arrange for someone to make decisions on your behalf about your property and affairs when you are no longer able to do so.This can include paying bills, managing a bank account or selling property. 
  • A personal welfare LPA enables you to arrange for someone to make decisions on your behalf about your health and personal welfare, such as giving consent to medical treatment or deciding where you should live.

Anyone aged 18 or over with the capacity to do so can make an LPA and can appoint one or more attorneys to act in their best interest and consider their needs and wishes as far as possible. 

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) supports and promotes decision-making for those who lack capacity or would like to plan for their future. They can advise how to prepare an LPA and it will need to be registered with them before it can be used. There are reductions and exemptions for people on a low income. You should be aware that a LPA is a powerful and important legal document and you may wish to seek legal advice from a solicitor with experience of preparing them. There are likely to be costs involved for this work. 

Useful contact

Carers Direct
Phone: 0300 123 1053
Carers Direct Website

Please note: Lasting power of attorney (LPA) replaced enduring power of attorney (EPA) in October 2007. An existing EPA remains valid as long as it was signed before that date and while the person was still able to make decisions for themselves. If they start to lose the ability to make reasoned decisions then the EPA must be registered with the OPG. If there is no EPA or LPA in place, a deputy may be appointed to make the decisions needed. Please contact the OPG for further advice.