Lasting Power of Attorney: Health and Welfare vs Property and Financial
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is the legal authority you give someone else to make medical, property, and financial decisions on your behalf.
The person you give a power of attorney is called the “attorney” while you are the “donor”. You must register an LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian.
You can register an LPA if:
- You are temporarily in hospital and need somebody to help you with day-to-day tasks like paying bills.
- You develop or think you might develop an illness, like a brain injury or dementia, that might stop you from making decisions for yourself. -
- You lose mental capacity.
What are the different types of Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are two types of LPA:
- Health and Welfare LPA
- Property and Financial LPA
What is Health and Welfare LPA?
A Health and Welfare LPA authorises your attorney to make medical and health care decisions on your behalf when you cannot do it. The attorney makes decisions on matters relating to:
- Your daily routines, such as eating, dressing, and washing
- Medical care
- Where you live, such as in a care home
- Life-sustaining medical care
Your attorney can also spend your money to improve or maintain your quality of life, such as:
- Paying for your hairdressing, grooming, or buying new clothes.
- Paying for additional support so you can socialise more, visit relatives and friends, or go on holiday.
- Paying for decorating or maintaining your house or living space.
You can get a Health and Welfare LPA temporarily, for example, if you are under anaesthesia or for long-term health issues. It also includes instructions about consenting to and refusing treatment.
Your attorney must make these decisions in your best interests. The LPA becomes effective only when you cannot decide on your medical treatment and care.
What is Property and Financial LPA?
A Property and Financial LPA authorises your attorney to make financial decisions on your behalf. The attorney can be a financial professional handling your affairs or a trusted family member or friend acting on your behalf when you lack the physical or mental capacity to do it yourself.
A Property and Financial LPA allows your attorney to make decisions on:
- Operating bank accounts
- Property and investments
- Money, bills and taxes
- Pensions and benefits
The LPA can take effect immediately or in the future. Your attorneys can act on your behalf while you still have mental capacity if the LPA says so or if you give permission.
Otherwise, the attorney must wait until you are not mentally capable to make decisions. At least one doctor must certify you to be physically or mentally incapable for incapacity to occur.
What is Mental Capacity?
When you have mental capacity, you understand what you are deciding on, why you need to decide it, and the possible outcomes. Sometimes, you may be able to decide on some things and not others. Taking time to understand an issue or communicate your decision does not mean a lack of mental capacity.
You might lack mental capacity if you are suffering an illness such as dementia or a severe learning disability.
With a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, you will have the peace of mind that someone you trust can take charge of your affairs when you cannot.