A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you to choose someone now that you trust to make decisions on your behalf about things such as your property and affairs or personal welfare at a time in the future when you no longer wish to make those decisions or you may lack the mental capacity to make those decisions yourself.
A Personal Welfare LPA allows you to plan ahead by choosing one or more people to make decisions on your behalf regarding your personal healthcare and welfare. These personal welfare decisions can only be taken by somebody else when you lack the capacity to make them for yourself; for example if you are unconscious or because of the onset of a condition such as dementia. The Attorney(s) you appoint to make personal welfare decisions will only be able to use this power once the LPA has been registered and provided that you cannot make the required decision yourself. You can give the attorney the power to make decisions about any or all of your personal welfare matters, including healthcare matters. This could involve some significant decisions such as giving or refusing consent to particular types of health care; whether you continue to live in your own home, perhaps with help and support from social services, or whether residential care would be more appropriate for you. If you want your attorney to have the power to make decisions about “life-sustaining treatment” you have to expressly give your chosen Attorney(s) the power to make such decisions on the LPA form. You can also give your Attorney(s) the power to make decisions about day-to-day aspects of your personal welfare, such as your diet, your dress, your daily routine. It is up to the Donor which of these decisions he/she wants to allow the Attorney(s) to make.
A Property and Affairs LPA allows you to plan ahead by choosing one or more people to make decisions on your behalf regarding your property and financial affairs. You can appoint a property and affairs Attorney to manage your finances and property whilst you still have the capacity as well as when you lack the capacity. For example, it may be easier for you to give someone the power to carry out tasks such as paying your bills or collecting your benefits or other income. This might be easier for a lot of reasons; you might find it difficult to get about or talk on the telephone, or you might be out of the country for long periods of time. The decisions you could hand over to your Attorney(s) could include paying your bills, making investment decisions or selling your house.