There are two types of LPA:
- Property and financial affairs LPA
- Health and welfare LPA
No one automatically has the right to deal with your property and financial affairs or to make decisions about your health and welfare (for example because they are your spouse or child). Making an LPA is one way you can decide who should deal with these matters if at any time you become unable to manage them yourself.
The person you choose in this way is known as your “attorney”. You can appoint more than one person to act. Your attorney (or attorneys) can use an LPA to manage your property and financial affairs straight away if that is what you want. Alternatively, you can state that the LPA must only be used if you become unable to manage your affairs because of the onset of mental incapacity. Health and welfare LPAs are different: they can only be used if you have lost mental capacity.
LPAs are different from ordinary powers of attorney. Ordinary powers are not valid once you become mentally unable to manage your affairs. Nor can they be used for health and welfare matters. LPAs can however be used in these situations.
An LPA is not just a document for the elderly: younger people sometimes lose the ability to manage their affairs through illness or accident.