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Power of attorney – your questions answered

We answer your questions about power of attorney and explain the importance of this document

If you are considering writing or updating your Will, you may have come across another legal document – a ‘power of attorney’. Here, we explain what this is and why, after making a Will, it can be so important when you are planning for the future.

What is a lasting power of attorney?

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime if you are no longer able to do so. This person or people become your attorney(s).

An LPA is a completely separate legal document to your Will, although many people put them in place at the same time as writing their Will as part of planning for the future.

Why would I need a lasting power of attorney?

Putting in place an LPA can give you peace of mind that someone you trust is in charge of your affairs. If you are suddenly hospitalised, or if you have an illness that progresses to the point where you can no longer make your own decisions, your attorney can ensure that decisions are made in line with your wishes. As your next-of-kin doesn’t automatically have a legal right to make decisions on your behalf, ensuring that your wishes are followed can be a lengthy and costly process without an LPA.

Are there different types of lasting power of attorney?

There are two types of LPA and each can include instructions and preferences about your wishes:

  • A health and care LPA lets your attorney make decisions about your medical treatment and day-to-day care
  • A financial decisions LPA lets your attorney make decisions about your money, property and benefits.

How do I set up a lasting power of attorney?

  1. Contact the Office of the Public Guardian (OGP) to get the relevant forms and an information pack. You can download the forms or complete them online.
  2. You can complete the forms yourself using the OGP guidance, or with the help of a solicitor for a fee.
  3. Have your LPA signed by a certificate provider. This is someone who confirms that you understand it and haven’t been put under any pressure to sign it. The certificate provider must be someone you know well, or a professional such as a doctor or solicitor.
  4. The LPA must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be There’s currently a fee of £82 to register each LPA and if you’re on a low income, you may be eligible for a discount.
  5. You must register your LPA while you still have the mental capacity and it can’t be used during the registration process, which takes approximately nine weeks. If you lose mental capacity but signed the LPA while you still had mental capacity, your attorney can register it for you.

For further information about LPAs or making a Will, please email legacyinfo@hospiscare.co.uk or call 01392 688020.