What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document, which allows you to give permission to someone else to act for you under certain circumstances – usually if you become unable to make decisions for yourself because of age, an accident or an illness like dementia. It allows you to entrust your key decisions to a friend, relative or a professional you trust.
Different types of Power of Attorney
There are different forms of Power of Attorney. These can only be put into place whilst you have mental capacity to do so.
The below describes the different Power of Attorneys available in England and Wales. For information in setting up a Power of Attorney in Scotland, please see further down the page.
Ordinary Power of Attorney
Also known as General Power of Attorney, this covers decisions about your affairs and is valid while you still have mental capacity, if mental capacity is lost then it will expire. It is suitable if you need to appoint someone for a temporary period of time, such as whilst you are travelling abroad, recovering from an illness or if you find it hard to get out and you want someone to act for you.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
An LPA is is ongoing with no expiry date, even if you subsequently lose mental capacity and it covers decisions about your financial affairs and/or your health and welfare. You can choose if you want it to come into effect only if you lose mental capacity, or if you no longer want to make decisions for yourself.
There are two types of LPA: a Property and Financial Affairs LPA and a Health and Welfare LPA.