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The University of Southampton
Parents and Carers Network

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows someone to appoint one or more other people, known as 'attorneys', to make decisions on their behalf when they are unable to do so themselves. This might happen with a long-term condition such as dementia, or following a life-changing event such as a serious accident or a stroke.

LPA - a legal document

Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) could be one of the best investments that you yourself, or one of your family, could make.

We all hope to see out our time with our faculties intact. No-one welcomes the prospect of becoming incapable of managing their financial and other affairs. Should this happen however, having an LPA in place can significantly ease the situation. Of course, it's also an insurance policy, and if you remain in good health your investment now could still lead to nothing.

In an LPA, the so-called 'donor' formally states who (the 'attorney') should make decisions on their behalf,  subject to certain conditions, usually centred on future loss of mental capacity. There is a lot of flexibility within this to reflect personal circumstances and wishes.

Set-up can often be a DIY task, though once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian it becomes a legal document. Registering an LPA to cover property and financial affairs costs just £110, with a reduced fee for people on a low income. A separate but similar mechanism covers decisions about health and welfare. For more complex situations, such as when a trust or overseas investments are involved, people often employ a solicitor.

Powers can cover both everyday health and welfare, and financial decisions such as paying bills or selling your home. The application must be done while you have the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.  For most people it's a simple, low-cost process that need not involve a solicitor. Having a lasting power of attorney (LPA) already in place could be a major help in future for relatives or friends. 

Without an LPA, these decisions would be taken by the Court of Protection. While rightly acting in the interests of the person concerned, this is a drawn-out and very expensive process, requiring annual renewal.

You can find further information about LPAs and the Mental Capacity Act from the Office of the Public Guardian, and from the links below.

Age UK

This national charity provides advice and downloadable guides on many topics including: Lasting Power of Attorney

Allied Services Trust

This New Milton-based charity provides education, assistance and support helping people prepare for possible incapacity. CEO Deborah Clarke gave a talk to P&CN in January 2015.

Find out more about Allied Services Trust.


To be put into use, an LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) while the donor still has mental capacity. Donors should generally do this as soon as their forms are complete.

LPA replaced the earlier Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in 2007. Existing registered EPAs are still valid.

There are different processes in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A footnote on Wills

The National Will Register ("Certainty") is the Law Society's endorsed provider of a national Will register. It also offers a Will Search service.

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