Lasting powers of attorney

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) came into force on the 1st of October 2007 and replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) from that date. EPA's created before the 1st October 2007 remain valid.

A Lasting Power of Attorney enables the person making it (the donor) to give someone else (the attorney) the legal right to deal with their affairs. Two types of LPA are available. A Property and Affairs LPA, which gives the attorney the authority to deal with the donor's finances and property, and a Personal Welfare LPA which allows them to make decisions relating to the donor's healthcare, welfare and in some cases end of life treatment.

Many people are concerned about what will happen to them in the event that they cannot make decisions for themselves through loss of mental capacity. With a growing elderly population, people are much more aware of the possible effects of Alzheimer's, dementia, strokes and other conditions which can cause loss of capacity. The new Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) provides the opportunity for them to have some say in their future care, and to state what type of medical treatment they would want or not want.

The philosophy behind the law change is that even those people who lack capacity should be empowered to have a say in decisions about matters which affect their lives.

The person making the LPA, the donor, will often appoint a family member or friend to be responsible for making decisions for them in the future. It is possible to appoint one person to act, or to name more than one person and specify different areas that each can make decisions about. It is also possible to specify that decisions should be made jointly by both attorneys.