Power of attorney
When someone makes a power of attorney, they appoint someone else to act on their behalf. The person making the power of attorney is called a donor and the person appointed to act on their behalf is called an attorney.
In order to make a power of attorney, you must be capable of making decisions for yourself. This is called having mental capacity
There are two different types of power of attorney: ordinary power of attorney and lasting power of attorney.
Ordinary power of attorney
You might want to give someone an ordinary power of attorney if:
you have a physical illness
you have an accident which leads to physical injury
you are abroad for a long period of time.
You should not use ordinary power of attorney if:
- You have been diagnosed with a mental health problem or other disease which can lead to mental incapacity
- you think you may develop a mental health problem or other disease which can lead to mental incapacity.
This is because you won't be able to continue using an ordinary power of attorney if you lose your mental capacity. Under these circumstances, it may be more appropriate to use a lasting power of attorney.
You can find out more about how to make an ordinary power of attorney on the Citizens Advice website (opens in a new window).
Lasting power of attorney
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf when you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. You must make an LPA while you still have mental capacity, but the LPA does not come into effect until you are judged to lack mental capacity.
You should make a lasting power of attorney if you have been diagnosed with, or think you might develop, an illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself at some time in the future.
The kinds of illness which might prevent you from making decisions for yourself include:
mental health problems
alcohol or drug misuse
the side-effects of medical treatment
any other illness or disability.
To make an LPA You will need to fill in a form.
Different types of lasting power of attorney
There are two types of LPA:
- property and financial affairs LPA
- personal welfare LPA
Depending on your situation you can make an LPA for either type or both. You don't have to make both types at the same time.
You can find out more about making a lasting power of attorney (opens in a new window) on the gov.uk website.