What happens if I can’t make decisions in the future?

There are many reasons that you may one day become unable to make decisions about your own financial assets or physical wellbeing, for example if you lose mental capacity through an illness like dementia. In this situation, having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place allows you to choose family members or other trusted individuals (‘attorneys’) to be authorised to make decisions on your behalf.

There are two types of LPA, one of which concerns decisions about your property and finance, the other, decisions about your health and welfare. Both of them are extremely powerful legal documents. A property and affairs LPA allows your attorney(s) to make important decisions about the management of your property, bank accounts, and bill payments. A health and welfare LPA allows your attorney to make choices around your care plans, medical treatment, and end of life wishes.

A property and finance LPA can be activated before you lose capacity, so if you decide you no longer want to manage your own finances, you can pass this responsibility on to your chosen attorney whenever you wish. A health and welfare LPA is only activated once you are deemed by a medical professional to have lost capacity.