Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Lasting power of attorney is a legal document, that allows another person to make important decisions on your behalf.  This gives you more control over what happens to you, should something occur meaning that you no longer have ‘mental capacity’ to make decisions for yourself.

The lasting power of attorney, or LPA for short, hands responsibility to a an appointed person to whom you have given permission to act on your behalf.

What is meant by mental capacity?

A person lacks capacity if a problem with their brain stops them from making rational decisions.  This could be caused by different factors such as mental health issues, a brain injury or an illness like dementia.

To be considered as having full mental capacity you should be able to:

  • Understand the information needed to make a decision
  • Hold on to that information long enough to make the decision
  • Use information or weigh up options to make the decision
  • Communicate their decision

What can a Lasting Power of Attorney be used for?

There are two types of LPA – one that covers financial decisions and one for health and welfare.

If you had an LPA to manage your finances, your appointed person would be able to take responsibility for things like:

  • Managing your bank or building society account
  • Paying bills
  • Collecting pension or benefits
  • Selling your property

With the financial LPA, you don’t actually have to have lost mental capacity to use it.  It can be used as soon as it’s registered, if you would like support with any of the above, however your permission will be required.

The second type of LPA covers health and welfare decisions, such as:

  • Medical care and treatment
  • Receiving care, either at home or moving into residential care
  • Life-sustaining treatment

The health and welfare LPA can only be used if you no longer have mental capacity to make these important decisions for yourself.

Who can I appoint as my attorney?

First of all, your attorney needs to over the age of 18 – and they must have the mental capacity to be able to make their own decisions.

Most people will choose a family member, such as a spouse or a son or daughter.  However you could appoint a friend or even a professional for example a solicitor or financial advisor.

When choosing the person that you’d like to appoint, think about the following:

  • How well do they look after their own affairs, for example their finances? Your attorney can’t be someone who has been declared bankrupt.
  • How well do you know them?
  • Do you trust them to make decisions that are in YOUR best interests.
  • Are they willing and happy to make these decisions on your behalf.

It is important that any person taking on this responsibility is fully aware of what the role involves and that they are a willing party.

Can I have more than one attorney?

Yes.  Some people may want to have a couple of family members who are responsible for managing their affairs.  When making your LPA, it is you that will decide how they make any decisions in the future.

You may decide that your attorneys can make decisions separately or together, meaning that all parties appointed will have to agree on the final decision.  You can vary the way that decisions are made.  For example, you may feel that some decisions, such as paying bills are simple enough for one person to do this on their own.  But more important actions such as selling your home, or receiving care, it may be wise to have all the attorneys make the decision jointly.

You can state your preferences on the LPA form.

How much does Lasting Power of Attorney cost?

Many people put off putting an LPA in place because they think it’s expensive, but costs can vary depending on the process.

The full fee to register each type of LPA is £82.  This means that if you decided to get both the Financial LPA and the Health and Welfare LPA, it would be a total cost of £164.

You do not need to instruct a solicitor to make an LPA, as long as you are able to fill in the application form and have full understanding of the process.  If you prefer you can seek legal advice, however do remember there will be additional costs to this.

If you want to know more about an LPA, this useful video from Martin Lewis is worth a watch.

How to apply for Lasting Power of Attorney

Either yourself, or your appointed person can apply online at or if you’d prefer you can contact the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300

If you are interested in providing care for your loved one, either before opting to pursue a lasting power of attorney, or as part of your responsibilities as an attorney, then please contact our team at Home Instead for more information on 01978 660423.