Here are words you’ll see when you’re creating a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
The applicant is the person who applies to register the Lasting Power of Attorney – that can be you (the donor) or one or more of your attorneys. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) usually sends the registered and stamped Lasting Power of Attorney to the applicant. However, if you want the OPG to correspond with someone else about your Lasting Power of Attorney application, the OPG will send the registered Lasting Power of Attorney to that person.
Attorneys are the people you choose to make decisions for you. You know them well and trust them to respect your views and act in your best interests. Attorneys don’t need to be lawyers. Many people choose their wife, husband, civil partner, partner, children, other relatives or close friends. Attorneys must be at least 18 years old.
Certificate providers are impartial people who confirm that you understand what you are doing and that nobody is forcing you to make the Lasting Power of Attorney. You need a certificate provider to make your Lasting Power of Attorney valid.
The donor is the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney and choosing other people to make decisions on their behalf. Only the donor can make decisions about their Lasting Power of Attorney, such as choosing their attorneys. A donor must be at least 18 years old and have mental capacity when they make their Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you, the donor, get certain means-tested benefits, you will not have to pay to apply to register your Lasting Power of Attorney. This is known as an ‘exemption’. Also see ‘Remission’.
You can specify instructions in your Lasting Power of Attorney. These tell your attorneys things that they must and must not do when making decisions and acting for you. Many donors don’t add instructions, as they trust their attorneys to make the decisions they would make themselves. Also see ‘Preferences’.
‘Jointly’ means that your attorneys must unanimously agree on every decision they make for you. If attorneys can’t agree, they can’t make a decision. If one attorney can no longer act on your behalf, the others won’t be able to make these decisions either.
Jointly and severally
‘Jointly and severally’ means that each attorney can make any decision on their own or they can decide together if they prefer. This is the most practical option as decisions won’t be delayed, or not made, because attorneys can’t meet or agree.
Lasting power of attorney (LPA)
An Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to choose other people to make decisions for you. There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
- health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, which can only be used if you don’t have mental capacity
- property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney, which can be used as soon as it’s registered, if you decide you need people to help you, and if you don’t have mental capacity
An Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used.
Life-sustaining treatment is any care, medicine, surgery or other remedy that a doctor says is needed to keep you alive. If you make a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, you can give your attorneys the power to allow or refuse life-sustaining treatment for you – otherwise, doctors will decide. Decisions about this type of treatment can only be made by others if you don’t have mental capacity.
Mental capacity means the ability to make a decision. A person with mental capacity has at least a general understanding of the decision they need to make, why they need to make it and what is likely to happen when they make it. Sometimes people can make some kinds of decision but don’t have the mental capacity to make others.
Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
The OPG is the agency in England and Wales that registers Lasting Power of Attorney documents and protects people who do not have mental capacity.
People to notify
People to notify are individuals you choose to tell when you apply to register your Lasting Power of Attorney. These people provide extra security as they get a chance to raise any concerns about your Lasting Power of Attorney before it’s registered – for example, if they believe you’ve been put under pressure to make it.
You can state preferences in your Lasting Power of Attorney. Preferences are what you’d like your attorneys to think about when making decisions for you. Attorneys should take your preferences into account but don’t have to follow them. Also see ‘Instructions’.
An Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the OPG before it can be used. This service guides you through the registration process – including paying a fee – once you have completed your Lasting Power of Attorney. Also see ‘Exemption’ and ‘Remission’.
If you (the donor) have an income of less than £12,000 a year before tax, you pay less to apply to register your Lasting Power of Attorney. This is known as a ‘remission’. Also see ‘Exemption’.
Replacement attorneys are people you choose to step in if one or more of your attorneys can no longer act or decide for you.
Witnesses are impartial people who watch you and your attorneys, including any replacement attorneys, sign your Lasting Power of Attorney. They must also sign the Lasting Power of Attorney to say they’ve seen you and your attorneys sign. This could be the same person who is acting as the Certificate Provider.