Lasting power of attorney guide

Power of attorney is someone you appoint to manage your affairs on your behalf if you’re no longer able to or prefer not to do it yourself. Depending on your requirements, there are several types of power of attorney to choose from including ordinary, enduring and lasting power of attorney.

In this guide: Find out how they work, the importance of choosing the right POA, whether you can DIY and the associated costs

What is power of attorney?

Power of attorney is a legal document giving someone you trust legal authority to make financial or welfare decisions should you become too unwell to do so yourself, perhaps as a result of dementia, a stroke or serious accident.

Without power of attorney, your family won’t be able to deal with your accounts or make decisions about your healthcare if you lose capacity - not even a spouse or civil partner. Instead they would need to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy which can be a lengthy and costly process

So to ensure your health and finances are managed by someone you trust, arranging power of attorney is a practical and important thing to do.

Types of power of attorney (POA)

There are several types of power of attorney to choose from depending on whether you want someone to:

  • Act on your behalf on temporary or ongoing basis
  • Manage your property and financial affairs, health and welfare or both

Ordinary power of attorney

Ordinary power of attorney gives someone the authority to look after your affairs on a temporary basis whilst you still have mental capacity. Therefore you may give someone ordinary power of attorney if you:

  • Are going on holiday
  • Are in hospital
  • Have a physical illness
  • Have difficulty getting out of the house

Ordinary POA is a temporary measure. If you want to give someone the ability to handle your affairs if you lose mental capacity, you need a lasting power of attorney.

Lasting power of attorney

Lasting power of attorney (LPA) grants authority for someone to look after your affairs for a long period of time should you lose mental capacity. You must be capable of making decisions when arranging a lasting power of attorney and can choose to cover your financial decisions, healthcare requirements or both.

Lasting power of attorney for health and welfare

Health and welfare power of attorney gives your chosen attorney legal authority to make decisions concerning your health and general care including:

  • Where you live
  • Medical treatment you receive
  • Daily care including what you wear, eat, do
  • Decisions regarding lifesaving treatment

Lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs

Property and financial affairs power of attorney gives your chosen attorney legal authority to make decisions about your finances including:

  • Paying your bills
  • Dealing with your bank or building society
  • Claiming benefits, pension and allowances
  • Paying the mortgage
  • Buying or selling property

Enduring power of attorney

Enduring power of attorney allows someone to manage your property and financial affairs should you lose mental capacity and was replaced by lasting power of attorney in 2007. Although enduring power of attorney no longer exists, those made before 2007 are still valid.

How to get power of attorney

To register power of attorney you need to:

  • Contact the Office of Public Guardian for one or more of the lasting power of attorney forms and information pack.  
    • LP1F – for lasting power of attorney for property and financial decisions
    • LP1H – for lasting power of attorney for health and welfare decisions
    • LP3 – people to notify form
  • Choose your attorney (you can have more than one)
  • Complete the form either yourself or with the help of a solicitor or specialist
  • Get your power of attorney form signed by
    • The attorney(s)
    • Witness
    • A certificate provider - someone you know other than a relative who can confirm you understand what you are doing and are not under pressure to put a POA in place
  • Register your lasting power of attorney with the Office of Public Guardian. This must be done whilst you still have mental capacity. Registration usually takes up to 10 weeks.
  • Complete and send your ‘people to notify’ form to those you have identified in your application as needing to know about the LPA

How much does a power of attorney cost?

The cost of arranging a power if attorney is as follows:

  • lasting power of attorney for property and financial decisions - £82
  • lasting power of attorney for health and welfare decisions - £82

Therefore if you want to register power of attorney for both financial and health decisions, you pay £164.

Arranging power of attorney online

You can arrange power of attorney online using the gov.uk website. The service guides you through setting up an account and completing the lasting power of attorney forms online. The forms should then be printed, signed by witnesses and attorneys and returned to the Office of Public Guardian for registration.

Alternatively you can download and print the DIY power of attorney forms and complete them by hand.

 Using power of attorney solicitors

Using a solicitor to arrange power of attorney isn’t a legal requirement and with costs around £500 is more expensive. However, if you’re unsure of the process or have a complex situation such as a business or family who don’t get on, paying extra for a solicitor may be worthwhile.

What should i do now?

We hope that you have found this lasting power of attorney guide useful, however, for more information or to apply, go to Making a lasting power of attorney on the governments website where you will find more guidance.

Your questions answered

  • What is the role of a lasting power of attorney?
    • A lasting power of attorney is someone you have legally appointed to make decisions about your finances or welfare on your behalf, should you become incapable of making those decisions yourself.

  • What is the difference between lasting and enduring power of attorney?
    • Enduring power of attorney allows you to manage someone’s property and financial affairs if they become unable to do so themselves, however it was replaced by lasting power of attorney in October 2007. Enduring powers of attorneys made prior to this date are still valid.

  • What power does power of attorney give you?
    • Power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone you have chosen the authority to make either financial or welfare decisions on your behalf should you become unable to.

  • Do you need a lawyer to get a power of attorney?
    • You don’t need a lawyer to get power of attorney. If however your requirements are complex, perhaps family conflict, business or property abroad, it may be worth paying for legal advice

  • How many attorneys can I have?
    • You can have as many power of attorneys as you like, allowing them to make decisions either jointly or separately. You can also appoint replacement attorneys in the event your attorneys are unable to act on your behalf.

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