Being appointed as a lasting power of attorney means you can make, or help with, major decisions for another person.
Even so, there is no requirement in law for you to have any experience in the legal system of the United Kingdom.
The type of LPA that you have will determine what decisions you can make. It will depend on whether you are:
Since October 2007, making a lasting power of attorney replaces the use of an enduring power of attorney (EPA).
Note: The person who appoints an attorney is the ‘donor’. Whereas, the ‘attorney’ is the person appointed to act on behalf of the donor.
Before You Start Making Decisions
You should check a lasting power of attorney’s duties before making any decisions. There are certain key steps to follow before you start using power (see below).
But, under the law, once you start using your powers as an attorney on behalf of another person, you must:
- Follow all instructions, and consider any preferences, that the donor included in the letter of attorney (LPA).
- Help the donor to make decisions on their own accord (as much as possible).
- Make any decisions according to the best interests of the donor while respecting their human and civil rights.
Even though some of the decisions may be a difficult choice, you must make them ‘yourself’. You cannot pass the task of deciding to someone else instead.
Note: You can get help making decisions on behalf of someone else if you need it. But, the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection can check the outcomes.
Using More than One Attorney
The LPA can instruct you to make some decisions ‘jointly’ and then make others ‘jointly and severally’. Check the instructions written on your LPA to confirm whether you need to make decisions:
- Jointly: Meaning all the attorneys (if there is more than one) must agree to any decisions.
- Jointly and severally: Meaning the attorneys can either make decisions together or on their own.
Note: LPA duties and responsibilities change if you make decisions ‘jointly’ with another who stops acting as an attorney (see below).
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
Health and Welfare Attorneys
There are specific duties for health and welfare attorneys if someone lacks capacity. This method of LPA grants authority to chosen people to help with decisions on medical care and daily routine.
Property and Financial Affairs Attorneys
You would use property and financial affairs attorneys for a specific role. This type of LPA grants authority to the people you choose to help with decisions on your finances.
Start Acting as an Attorney
A guide for anyone starting as a property and financial affairs or a health and welfare attorney. Check what steps to follow before you start acting as an attorney or take over as a replacement.
LPA Records and Expenses
If you have a lasting power of attorney record keeping and claiming expenses is part of the process. You should keep a record of important decisions you make and when you make them.
LPA Checks and Visits
There are several processes that check the decisions you make. The OPG or the Court of Protection will carry out checks and visits to keep things on track.
Note: The Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will examine ways to make the lasting power of attorney service safer, easier to use, and fit for the future.
Stop Acting as an Attorney
Acting under a signed power of attorney carries a legal responsibility. Find out how to stop acting as an attorney before the donor dies and how to resign attorneyship.