Putting in place a power of attorney can give you peace of mind that someone you trust is in charge of your affairs.

If you're aged 18 or older and have the mental ability to make financial, property and medical decisions for yourself, you can arrange for someone else to make these decisions for you in the future. This legal authority is called "lasting power of attorney".

The person who is given power of attorney is known as the "attorney" and must be over 18 years old. You are known as the "donor".

Appointing attorneys

You can appoint just one attorney, or more than one attorney, to act:

  • "jointly" - they must always make decisions together
  • "jointly and severally" - they have to make some decisions together and some individually

For example, you can appoint attorneys to act jointly when making decisions over your money, but state that only one attorney should decide where you should live.

You have the right to say the attorneys must act jointly on all your affairs.

There are 2 different types of lasting power of attorney (LPA)

  • health and welfare
  • property and financial affairs

You can choose to make one type or both.

How to make a lasting power of attorney

  1. Choose your attorney (you can have more than one).
  2. Fill in the forms to appoint them as an attorney.
  3. Register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (this can take up to 10 weeks).

Applying for power of attorney

It's generally recommended that you set up both a personal welfare LPA and a property and financial affairs LPA at the same time.

Many people do this while reviewing or revising their will, and you may be able to use the same solicitor.

Health and welfare lasting power of attorney

Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:

  • your daily routine, for example washing, dressing, eating
  • medical care
  • moving into a care home
  • life-sustaining treatment

It can only be used when you're unable to make your own decisions.

Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney

Use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:

  • managing a bank or building society account
  • paying bills
  • collecting benefits or a pension
  • selling your home

It can be used as soon as it's registered, with your permission.

More information

Find out more about power of attorney on GOV.UK.

This page is based on content that originated from GOV.UK (adapted)