A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is someone who has been appointed to take over critical decision-making for another in the event they are no longer deemed fit to do so themselves. Usually appointed by a family member – for example a husband and wife may sign over power of attorney to their adult children – an LPA can be challenged through the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

As an executive agency sponsored by the Ministry of Justice and a governing body within the framework of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the OPG helps people in England and Wales to make important decisions for those who cannot decide for themselves. Therefore, if you have appointed someone as an LPA, you can send a written statement – a partial deed of revocation – to the OPG. If you still have mental capacity, you can cancel an LPA at any time – it is well within your legal right.

What is a lasting power of attorney?

An LPA is a legal document that lets you (the donor) appoint one or more people (known as attorney(s)) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. Appointing an LPA means you are providing them with a lot of power, so it’s important you choose the right person.

Important decisions that an LPA may have to make, cover a wide variety of areas, including:

  • whether the donor needs to be moved into a residential care or nursing home
  • whether the donor’s property should be sold to pay for care
  • if the donor ends up in hospital, what treatment should they receive
  • should the donor have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order
  • managing the donor’s finance and other assets

An LPA can be someone you trust to make your decisions for you, such as family members, close friends of even a professional, such as a solicitor.

It’s also important to note that there is also another kind of power of attorney – an Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA). This allows a donor to delegate decision making powers to someone for only a short period of time, such as during a period of ill health or an extended stay overseas.

Changing your mind?

As mentioned above, it is well within your legal right to change an LPA – as long as you have the mental capacity to do so. There is a whole host of reasons why you would want to change as LPA, including:

  • when the relationship falls apart and is irreparable
  • the appointed LPA has lost mental capacity themselves
  • the LPA – or the donor – has been declared bankrupt
  • if the LPA was a partner – such as a wife – and they have gone through a divorce or a dissolvement

Can anyone else remove an LPA?

A donor can choose to appoint as many LPAs as they want, but between one and four is common. The more LPAs who are appointed, the higher the chance there is that one or two don’t like, or get on, with each other.

As with the donor, an LPA can apply to have another LPA removed, when they don’t agree with their views or their conduct. Again, they would need to contact the OPG and send a partial deed of revocation, if it is just one LPA that needed to be removed.

Speak to us If you have any queries regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney or if you want to remove an LPA, then St Helens Law are here to help. You can give us a call on 01744 742 360 or email us at info@sthelenslaw.co.uk to book your free consultation today.