Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is

  • A legal document
  • That allows someone you trust
  • To make decisions for you
  • Or act on your behalf
  • If you’re no longer able to, or want to make your decisions.

A power of attorney is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer able to make them yourself – or if you don’t want to.

Life is becoming more and more complicated and you have to manage all aspects of your life, your health and your


What is a power of attorney?

There might come a time when you’re no longer able to make or communicate your own decisions. Having a power of attorney set up can make things much easier if and when that time comes – so it’s worth considering now. 

A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints someone – your ‘attorney’ – to make decisions on your behalf.

There are a number of reasons why you may need someone to make decisions on your behalf. It may be a temporary measure, if you’re going into hospital and need help with everyday financial tasks like paying your bills. Or it may be part of long-term planning – if, for example, you’ve been diagnosed with dementia and want to plan ahead in case you lose mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future. 


What is mental capacity?

Having mental capacity means being able to make your own decisions and understand the consequences of those decisions. No one can make a decision on your behalf unless it can be shown that you lack mental capacity. 

If you lack mental capacity for a decision, it means you’re unable to do one or more of the following:

  • understand the information relating to the decision
  • weigh up that information
  • remember that information for long enough to make your decision
  • communicate your decision (whether verbally, using sign language, or by other means).

However, whether someone has mental capacity can change depending on the decision – so someone might be able to make decisions about certain things but not others. Others might be able to make a decision at a certain time, but unable to make the same decision at another time. This is why anyone considering whether you have mental capacity needs to consider your ability to make and communicate a specific decision at the time it needs to be made. 

You should be given as much help as possible to make and communicate a decision before anyone judges that you lack mental capacity.

Taking time to weigh up or communicate a decision shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of mental capacity. Nor should having a certain condition, such as dementia. For example, someone may still have capacity to make certain decisions for some time following a diagnosis.

What is a lasting power of attorney (LPA)?

There are two types of LPA: one for making financial decisions and another for making health and care decisions. You can set up LPAs for both types of decisions.

An LPA for health and care decisions can only be used if you lose mental capacity. An LPA for financial decisions can also be used while you still have mental capacity if this is what you’d prefer, but you need to choose this option when setting it up. 

You can only create an LPA if you have mental capacity to do so and you haven’t been put under any pressure to set it up.

An LPA isn’t necessarily permanent. You can cancel it at any time while you have mental capacity by writing to your attorney or attorneys and the Office of the Public Guardian and advising them of your decision.

 LPA property and financial affairs decisions

If you create this type of LPA, your attorney can make decisions about things like:

  • selling your home
  • paying your mortgage and bills
  • arranging repairs to your home.

Important Features of this document

  • You decide when you want this type of LPA to start. This might be while you still have mental capacity, or it might be if and when you lose mental capacity.
  • This type of LPA gives your attorney the authority to make all decisions about your finances and property, unless you limit their authority by including specific instructions when setting it up. 
  • Your attorney usually has to keep your money separate from theirs and keep accounts to show this.
  • You can ask for regular updates on how much money you have and how much has been spent. If you’d like, these updates can also be sent to your solicitor or a family member.

LPA for health and care decisions

If you create this type of LPA, your attorney can make decisions about things like:

  • where you live
  • your medical treatment
  • the care and support you receive
  • who you have contact with
  • what kind of social activities you take part in.

Important Features of this document

  • Unlike an LPA for financial decisions, your attorney can only use this LPA if you no longer have mental capacity.
  • When setting up the LPA, you must decide whether to give your attorney the authority to make decisions about life-saving treatment.
  • If you lose mental capacity and don’t have this type of LPA in place, any decisions about your health or care will be made by the professionals relevant to your situation, such as your doctor or your local council’s social services department. If appropriate, they must consult your family (or anyone else with an interest in your welfare) when deciding what is in your best interests – but the final decision lies with them.

How do I set up a power of attorney?

When you hear people talking about power of attorney, they’re likely talking about lasting power of attorney. That’s why in this section we’ve outlined the process for setting up a lasting power of attorney. 

  1. We will attend you at our office, or if not possible arrange a home visit to take your instructions and complete the forms for you.
  2. You can fill out the forms yourself and people do. But be careful – mistakes might mean your LPA is rejected and you need to pay a fee later to reapply. We can guide you through the process and complete all the correspondence and the necessary paperwork.
  3. You’ll then need to sign the completed forms and send them to the Office of the Public Guardian. If you’ve downloaded the forms online or used the online service, you’ll need to print them out before signing them. 
  4. Then, you need to have your LPA signed by a ‘certificate provider’ – this is someone who confirms that you understand what the LPA is and that you haven’t been put under any pressure to sign it. The certificate provider must either be someone you’ve known well for at least 2 years or a professional person, such as a doctor, social worker or solicitor. Certain people aren’t allowed to be your certificate provider – including your partner or any other family members. We will act as your certificate provider, engaging in all correspondence with the Office of Public Guardian and making sure the forms are completed correctly.
  5. Lastly, we will register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian – you cannot use your LPA until registration is complete, which is taking about 20 weeks. You can register your LPA if you have the mental capacity to do so. If you sign an LPA while you still have mental capacity but lose capacity before registering it, your attorney can register it for you. 

Do I need a solicitor to set up a lasting power of attorney (LPA)

While you don’t have to use a solicitor to create an LPA, it could prevent problems later on – especially if you’re unsure of the process or your affairs are complex. It’s more costly than filling the forms yourself, but you might find that the reassurance of having professional advice is worth it. In our experience, this is a stressful experience. You need to make serious decisions regarding what care you may require, whether you wish to be resuscitated following a serious operation, or how long you receive life sustaining treatment and having the guidance from an experienced professional person can be invaluable. A Solicitor can answer the questions that you have and provide suggestions for the correct appointment and choosing of your Attorney’s.

The forms are complex to complete and time consuming and you could make mistakes. It’s often a good idea to get some help and advice and guidance.

How much does it cost to set up a lasting power of attorney?

Registering an LPA costs £82. If you’re registering 2 LPAs at the same time –  one for financial decisions and one for health and care decisions – then you’d need to pay £82 for each LPA, so £164 in total. 

However, if you’re on a low annual income (under £12,000), you might be eligible for a 50% discount, and if you’re receiving certain income-related benefits you won’t have to pay anything at all. 

Our professional charges for completing each document are £250.00. You will find other solicitors charge a similar price or more. There is no Vat to pay on our fees.


 Who should I choose as my attorney?

You could choose someone you’re close to, such as a family member or friend. Or you could choose a professional, such as a solicitor. It’s important to be sure that whoever you choose will make decisions in your best interests

It’s also important that you give the person you ask to be your attorney time to think about the role and responsibilities, to make sure they feel comfortable doing it.

Whoever you choose, your attorney needs to be 18 or over, and they can’t be a professional care worker apart from in exceptional circumstances (for example, if they’re your only relative). There are other restrictions on who you can choose to be your attorney. For example, an attorney for financial decisions cannot be bankrupt.

Choose your attorney 

You can choose one or more people to be your attorney. If you appoint more than one, you must decide whether they’ll make decisions separately or together.

Who can be your attorney

Your attorney needs to be 18 or over. They could be:

  • a relative
  • a friend
  • a professional, for example a solicitor
  • your husband, wife or partner

You must appoint someone who has the mental capacity to make their own decisions. We can advise you who best to chose and who to avoid.

Your attorney does not need to live in the UK or be a British citizen.

When choosing an attorney, think about:

  • how well they look after their own affairs, for example their finances
  • how well you know them
  • if you trust them to make decisions in your best interests
  • how happy they will be to make decisions for you

As mentioned you cannot choose someone who is subject to a Debt Relief Order or someone who is bankrupt if you’re making a lasting power of attorney (LPA) for property and financial affairs.

We have had occasion where we felt that a proposed Attorney was putting undue pressure on a Donor to make an LPA for financial decisions, we refused to act and reported the proposed Attorney to the Donor’s family

If there’s more than one attorney

If you’re appointing more than one person, you must decide if they’ll make decisions:

  • separately or together – sometimes called ‘jointly and severally’ – which means attorneys can make decisions on their own or with other attorneys
  • together – sometimes called ‘jointly’ – which means all the attorneys have to agree on the decision

You can also choose to let them make some decisions ‘jointly’, and others ‘jointly and severally’.

Attorneys who are appointed jointly must all agree or they cannot make the decision.

Replacement attorneys

When you make your LPA you can nominate other people to replace your attorney or attorneys if at some point they cannot act on your behalf anymore.

How many attorneys can I have? 

You can appoint as many attorneys as you like. It can be a good idea to appoint more than one attorney, but if you do, you must decide how they’re going to make decisions. They can make decisions:

  • jointly, meaning they must make all decisions together
  • jointly and severally, meaning they may act together or separately, as they choose.

Or you may want to specify that attorneys must act jointly for specific decisions, such as selling a house, but they can act jointly and severally for all other decisions.

You can also appoint replacement attorneys, in case someone you’ve chosen becomes unable to act on your behalf, for example if they die or lose mental capacity.

Do I need to pay my attorney?

Your attorney can claim back out-of-pocket expenses they incur as part of the role – such as travel or postage costs. They can claim these from your money, and they must keep an account of the expenses and any relevant receipts.

But usually your attorney can’t claim for time spent carrying out their duties unless they’re a professional attorney, such as a solicitor. Given that professional attorneys charge for their time, it’s important to consider the costs carefully before you choose an attorney.

There is, however, an exception: a non-professional attorney can be paid for their duties if the person who set up the power of attorney specified that they should in the instructions part of the LPA form.


How should my attorney make decisions?

Your attorney must understand and follow certain principles, which are set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its code of practice.

Your attorney should:

  • Assume you have mental capacity unless shown otherwise. Your attorney must only make decisions on your behalf if it can be shown you don’t have mental capacity.
  • Help you make a decision. You must be given as much practical help as possible to make your own decision before anyone decides you’re unable to. For example, if you’re better able to understand things at a particular time of day, you should be helped to make a decision then. Or if you’re better able to understand or communicate using pictures or sign language, then this should be supported.
  • Avoid making assumptions based on ‘unwise decisions’. You shouldn’t be treated as unable to make a decision just because you make a decision that others might consider unwise or eccentric.
  • Make the least restrictive decision. Anyone making a decision for you should consider all the options and choose the one that’s the least restrictive of your rights and freedoms.
  • Act in your best interests. Your attorney must consider a range of factors and reach a balanced conclusion about what decision is the right one for you. For more information about what your ‘best interests’ are, see the FAQ section at the bottom of the page.

What should I do if I’m having problems with my attorney?

If you’re worried that your attorney isn’t acting in your best

interests, or that someone else’s attorney isn’t acting in their best interests, contact your solicitor immediately they will then contact the Office of the Public Guardian. They have a responsibility to investigate allegations of mistreatment or fraud.

If necessary, they can also report concerns to the police or social services. You can get in touch with the Office of the Public Guardian by calling 0300 456 0300 or by emailing them on customerservices@publicguardian.gov.uk
We will of course attend to this on your behalf as a matter of urgency.

If you’re concerned that abuse or neglect is taking place and you want to talk to someone about it confidentially, contact the Hourglass helpline on 0808 808 8141. Alternatively, contact the local council’s safeguarding team. 

If you’re worried that you or someone else is in immediate danger, contact the police on 999

The Powers of Attorney Act 2023

The Powers of Attorney Act 2023  has digitised the process and made it faster, easier, more accessible and secure.

  • speeds up registration time by picking up errors earlier and allowing these to be fixed online
  • allows checks on the identity of those applying for an LPA to prevent fraud
  • allows for an LPA to made digitally
  • widens the group of people who can make an objection
  • expedites the objection process

Can I use a digital version of my LPA?

The government website has an online service that gives you and your attorney(s) access to a digital version of an LPA using an online account with a secure access code. This allows people or organisations like banks to check that the LPA is valid. For example, your attorney could use the digital version of your LPA to confirm that they’re acting on your behalf with a valid LPA with your bank or energy company.  

How do I make changes to my LPA?

You generally can’t make changes to your LPA after it’s been registered. It may be possible to remove one of your attorneys, but it’s important to seek advice from your Solicitor or the Office of the Public Guardian before doing so, because removing an attorney may cause your LPA to end.

If you have mental capacity, you can also cancel (or ‘revoke’) your LPA.

Removing an attorney 

You can ask the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) to remove an attorney if your lasting power of attorney (LPA) is registered and you still have mental capacity to make decisions.

You will need to send OPG a written statement called a ‘partial deed of revocation’.

If you want to add another attorney you need to end your LPA and make a new one.

Use the following wording. Replace the words in the square brackets with the relevant details.

We suggest you seek legal advice before attempting this on your own

Partial deed of revocation

“This partial deed of revocation is made by [donor’s name] of [donor’s address].

1: I granted a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs/health and welfare [delete as appropriate] on [date donor signed the lasting power of attorney] appointing [name of first attorney] of [address of first attorney] and [name of second attorney] of [address of second attorney] to act as my attorney(s).

2: I hereby revoke [attorney’s name that you are revoking] ONLY from the lasting power of attorney and the authority granted to him/her.

Signed and delivered as a deed [donor’s signature]

Date signed [date]

Witnessed by [signature of witness]

Full name of witness [name of witness]

Address of witness [address of witness]”

Where to send a partial deed of revocation

Send the partial deed of revocation to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) with the original LPA document. You must also tell your attorney or attorneys that you’re ending your LPA.

Office of the Public Guardian
PO Box 16185

How can my attorney be sure they’re acting in my best interests?

Your attorney must always make the decision that’s in your ‘best interests’. This means that they must: 

  • act in your best interests, not in their own or anyone else’s, and not take advantage to gain benefit for themselves or allow personal interests to conflict with their duties as your attorney
  • do everything possible to enable you to express your preferences and participate in the decision-making process
  • consider your past and present feelings, especially any wishes you put in an advance statement
  • consider any of your beliefs and values that may influence the decision
  • talk to other people, such as your family, carers or friends, who know about your feelings, beliefs and values and might be able to suggest what would be in your best interests
  • respect your right to privacy at all times, recognising that it might not be appropriate to share information about you with people
  • know about any exceptions, such as if you’ve made an advance decision to refuse medical treatment.

Your attorney must weigh up these factors in order to reach a balanced decision about what’s in your best interests.

End your lasting power of attorney

You can end your lasting power of attorney (LPA) yourself – if you have mental capacity to make that decision.

You need to send the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) both:

  • the original LPA
  • a written statement called a ‘deed of revocation’

Use the following wording for the deed of revocation. Replace the words in the square brackets with the relevant details.

We suggest you seek legal advice before attempting this on your own

Deed of revocation

“This deed of revocation is made by [your name] of [your address].

1: I granted a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs/health and welfare (delete as appropriate) on [date you signed the lasting power of attorney] appointing [name of first attorney] of [address of first attorney] and [name of second attorney] of [address of second attorney] to act as my attorney(s).

2: I revoke the lasting power of attorney and the authority granted by it.

Signed and delivered as a deed [your signature]

Date signed [date]

Witnessed by [signature of witness]

Full name of witness [name of witness]

Address of witness [address of witness]”

You must be able to make your own decisions when you end your LPA.

You can also complain if you have concerns about your attorney, for example if they’re not carrying out their responsibilities properly.

Other ways a lasting power of attorney can end

Your LPA may end if your attorney:

  • loses the ability to make decisions – ‘loses mental capacity’
  • divorces you or ends your civil partnership if they’re your husband, wife or partner
  • becomes bankrupt or they’re subject to a Debt Relief Order (DRO) – if they’re a property and financial affairs attorney
  • is removed by the Court of Protection
  • dies

If your only attorney dies

Your LPA will end if your attorney dies and you have no replacement attorneys. You must tell OPG and send them:

  • the original LPA
  • all certified copies of the LPA
  • a return address where your documents can be sent back to

At Paul Darnborough Legal we have been advising and completing Lasting Powers of Attorney for many many years and have competed hundreds of them. We are experts in this area and can advise you every step of the way.

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