Power of attorney

When a person makes a power of attorney they appoint another person or people to make decisions and act on their behalf.

If you are making the power of attorney you are known as the donor and must be able to make your own decisions at the time of the appointment.

If you are appointed by someone making a power of attorney you are known as the attorney.

As attorney you will have the right to deal with banks, building societies, adult social care and other organisations as necessary on behalf of the person appointing you.

How you act depends on your appointment. There are 2 types of power of attorney:

  • lasting power of attorney
  • ordinary power of attorney

To learn more about a lasting power of attorney and to discuss your options you can visit our Community Advice Hubs.

Lasting power of attorney

A lasting power of attorney, often abbreviated to just LPA, is suitable if you want someone to look after your affairs for a long period of time.

You should make a lasting power of attorney if you:

  • have been diagnosed with a condition which can lead to mental incapacity
  • think you may develop a condition which can lead to mental incapacity

There are 2 types of lasting power of attorney:

  • A property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney
  • A personal welfare lasting power of attorney

You can also make both a property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney and a personal welfare lasting power of attorney.

Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney

A property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney gives someone the authority to:

  • pay your bills
  • manage your bank, building society or other accounts
  • buy or sell your property
  • handle your benefits and tax credits

When you give someone property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney you can design it to suit you. That means that you can decide what your attorney can and cannot do. You can also decide when it takes effect.

A property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney:

  • can be used while you still have your mental capacity
  • can be used as soon as it is registered
  • must include authority for your attorney to make decisions once you have lost your mental capacity

Personal welfare lasting power of attorney

A personal welfare lasting power of attorney authorises the attorney to access your personal information and to make decisions about your day to day life, including:

  • where you live
  • what you eat
  • your healthcare treatment

A personal welfare lasting power of attorney:

  • can be made to deal with all or only some aspects of your personal welfare
  • cannot be used until you have lost your mental capacity
  • must be registered before it can be used

When you give someone personal welfare lasting power of attorney you can decide what your attorney can and cannot do.

Making a lasting power of attorney

To make a lasting power of attorney you must be able to make decisions for yourself.

You can do this online at Gov.UK.

Ending a lasting power of attorney

You can end your lasting power of attorney yourself - if you have mental capacity to make that decision.

Your attorney can also choose to cancel the lasting power of attorney if they are no longer able to complete their duties.

For further information visit Gov.UK.

Ordinary power of attorney

An ordinary power of attorney is suitable if you want someone to manage your financial affairs for a long period of time if you have:

  • a physical illness
  • an accident which causes physical injury
  • a long stay abroad

An ordinary power of attorney is not suitable if you:

  • have been diagnosed with a condition which can lead to mental incapacity
  • think you may develop a condition which can lead to mental incapacity

To make an ordinary power of attorney you will need to buy a document from a newsagent or use a solicitor.