Types of LPA
People who lack mental capacity need someone else to manage their legal, financial and health affairs. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 made provision for people to choose someone to manage not only their finances and property should they become incapable but also to make health and welfare decisions on their behalf. They will be able to do this through a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). LPAs replaced Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) in 2007, when the Mental Capacity Act came into force.
Enduring Power of Attorney
Before October 2007, people could grant an EPA so a trusted person could act for them if they could no longer manage their finances. Any EPA remains valid whether or not it has been registered at the Court of Protection, provided that both the donor of the Power and the attorney/s signed the document prior to 1 October 2007.
An EPA can be used while you still have mental capacity, provided you consent to its use. If you start to lose the mental capacity to manage your finances, your attorney/s are under a duty to register your EPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). While the registration is being processed, your attorney/s can use your finances for essentials on your behalf such as paying for food or payment of regular bills. However, they will not be able to deal with larger transactions such as the sale of your house until the EPA has been registered.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Property and affairs LPA
You can make a property and affairs LPA to enable someone you trust (the attorney) to make decisions on your behalf about your property and affairs at a time when you are no longer able or lack the mental capacity to take those decisions yourself. This can include paying your bills, collecting your income and benefits or selling your house, subject to any restrictions or conditions you might have included. It can only be used once it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
Personal welfare LPA
A personal welfare LPA allows the person/s you have chosen as your attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare, eg where you live. It can include the power for the attorney to give or refuse consent to medical treatment if this power has been expressly given in the LPA. You have to fill in the form appropriately if this is the option that you require. If you do state that you do not wish to consent to specified life sustaining treatment to be given at a future time, the LPA giving the attorney the decision making power will invalidate a previous advanced decision refusing treatment, thus giving the attorney power to make the decision. A subsequent advanced decision (if applicable in the circumstances) would be binding on the attorney.
A personal welfare LPA can only be used once the form is registered at the OPG and you have become mentally incapable of making decisions about your own welfare.