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An LPA is a legal document which gives the person(s) of your choice the power to deal with your affairs. These trusted people will become your legally appointed attorney(s) and will be able to use these documents to act on your behalf whenever necessary.

LPAs at a glance

  • You can choose someone you trust – giving you the power to ensure your estate is being taken care of by someone you trust to do it. Whether it be a family member, a close friend or solicitor
  • Even if you’re married, you aren’t entitled to deal with your partner’s affairs – your partner could be powerless when it comes to making decisions to do with your finances or medical care
  • LPAs can be temporary or permanent – for example, they can be used if you’re in hospital
  • They last a lifetime – your LPA will protect your estate until you pass away, and then your Will takes over
  • You should leave yourself plenty of time to set up and register you LPA – the registration process with the Office of the Public Guardian can take up to 10 weeks
  • Key recommend you appoint at least two attorneys. The first, for example, could be your spouse or partner and the second a son or daughter

Types of LPAs

In England and Wales, there are two types of LPA which deal with entirely different aspects of your life; Property and Financial Affairs, and Health and Welfare. You can choose to have both or just one on its own.

  • A Property and Financial Affairs LPA deals with your money and property and can be used while you still have full mental capacity
  • A Health and Welfare LPA can only be used once you are unable to make decisions yourself, not before.


Giving a trusted person power of attorney over your health and welfare does not mean they will automatically gain control over your financial affairs and vice versa.

Swipe

Feature Property and Finance Health and Welfare
Act on your behalf
Deal with bank accounts
Sign paperwork related to equity release
Deal with utility bills
Deal with solicitors
Discuss medical issues with your doctors
Make decisions about healthcare
Deal with social services

Things to consider

Contrary to popular belief, married or co-habiting couples are not automatically able to legally deal with each other’s affairs. Taking out an LPA and appointing your partner as an attorney ensures they have the authority to act on your behalf should you require it.
 

Legally, being married or co-habiting doesn’t afford you the right to:

  • Access any bank accounts
  • Speak to pension providers or credit card companies
  • Query bills with utility companies
  • Make a decision about healthcare
  • Without having a valid LPA in place naming your partner as your nominated attorney, they may find themselves powerless to help you
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These pages give a general overview of the issues surrounding estate planning and are based on our understanding of the current law and tax regulation in England and Wales, which may be subject to change.