Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

Gavel and hammer

A power of attorney simply means a written authorisation to represent or act on another’s behalf in private matters, such as discussing an electric account with a supplier.  There are different types of power of attorney:

  • Ordinary
  • Lasting
  • Enduring 

You can only set up a power of attorney while you still have the ability to weigh up information and make decisions for yourself, known as 'mental capacity' - so it may be worth putting one in place early on.

Ordinary Power of Attorney

This gives another person authority to act on your behalf for a limited period.  As soon as you lose mental capacity, the ordinary power of attorney will no longer be valid and expire.  This means it's not suitable if you need someone to manage your affairs after you’ve lost the ability to do it yourself.

This option is most useful if you temporarily want someone to make decisions for you – for example, while recovering from an illness.  If you chose to you can specify a period of time for an ordinary power of attorney or restrict it to a specific activity. This document does not have to register with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Lasting Power Attorney (LPA)

This is the most common form of attorney.  It is an ongoing arrangement with no expiry date that allows another person to make decisions on your behalf.  Once the document is registered, it can be used immediately, with your permission while you still have the capacity, or it can take effect when you lose the ability to make your own decisions (mental capacity). A LPA has to be registered with the government, via the Office of the Public Guardian, for which there is a charge.

There are two forms of LPA’s:

Property and financial affairs LPA

This gives your attorney the power to make decisions about your money and property, including.

  • Managing bank or building society accounts
  • Collecting pensions or benefits
  • Paying bills
  • Selling your home if necessary

Health and welfare LPA

This gives your attorney the power to make decisions about:

  • Medical care
  • Daily routines (washing, dressing, or eating)
  • Moving into a care home
  • Life-sustaining medical treatment.

You can choose to make one type or both. 

It takes between eight and ten weeks to register a lasting power of attorney. So you don’t want to leave it to the last minute.

When do you need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Putting a LPA in place can give you peace of mind that someone you trust is in charge of your affairs should you not be able to look after them for yourself for whatever reason.  If you're facing an illness or believe your mental capacity might be deteriorating, then it is worth thinking about who you would like to handle your affairs.  If a LPA isn’t set up in advance, it may lead to complications if you (or a loved one) have difficulties looking after your own affairs in the future, or if you need care or support arrangements.

Enduring Power of Attorney

Enduring power of attorney (EPA) can no longer be made, only EPAs made and signed before October 1, 2007 can still be used. After that date donors had to make a lasting power of attorney (LPA) instead.

Who Can be an Attorney?

The donor can choose one or more people to be their attorneys. If multiple attorneys are appointed, the donor must decide whether they will make decisions separately or together.

An attorney needs to be 18+ and could be:

  • A relative
  • A friend
  • A professional such as a solicitor
  • The donor's spouse or partner

Managing a Loved One's Affairs

You may be caring for a loved one who is able to manage their own money, and affairs at present but depending on their needs they may become less able to do this over time. Setting up ‘power of attorney’ can help you both, as you know there is a plan in place for the future, in case the person you care for can no longer do it themselves.

If you are being appointed as an attorney to make financial decisions for a loved one you must keep accounts and make sure your money is kept separate from the donor. 


The process costs (2022) £82.00 per LPA (£164 to register both property and financial affairs LPA and health and welfare LPA) and you can handle the paperwork yourself relatively easily provided you or a trusted family member or friend are competent at using a computer. 

Some people prefer to use a solicitor or seek help from a reputable organisation, just be aware that this will cost considerably more so it is always worth downloading the forms and having a go at completing them (not submitting until confident) and seeking support if the process is too challenging. 

Exemptions and reductions

Setting up a power of attorney is free – known as an exemption – if you’re on certain means-tested benefits such as Income Support.

If you can’t get it free, you might be able to get a 50% reduction in the fee if you earn less than £12,000 a year

How to Implement a Lasting Power of Attorney?

There are two ways you can make a lasting power of attorney. You can:

There is one form for a property and affairs LPA and a different form for a health and welfare LPA. If you want someone to look after your financial affairs and your health and welfare, you will need to make two separate LPAs and fill in both forms.

There are notes which come with the forms which tell you exactly what to do. You should read these very carefully.

The video below created by Gov Digital shows Ann, a carer for her mother, who explains how simple she found it to make a lasting power of attorney using the digital service on GOV.UK.

Who Can Support Me?

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), is a government organisation, whose role is to register powers of attorney. It also provides support services to attorneys and investigates complaints about attorneys. Contact the Office of the Public Guardian to get the relevant forms and an information pack. You can download the forms or fill them out online. You can contact the OPG for more information: Telephone: 0300 456 0300 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, except Wednesday, 10am to 5pm).

Carers Together can provide some general information about a power of attorney and lasting power of attorney but cannot help to complete the legal process. They also provide a legal clinic where you can speak to a solicitor for 30 minutes for free advice and discuss the process and costs etc. Call the team for more information: 01642 488977

Age UK Teesside has specially trained staff to help with setting up a lasting power of attorney. Prices for one person range from £200 - £364 Prices for a couple range from £300 - £628. Please note: Costs are dependent on eligibility for court fee exemption. A non-refundable £50 deposit will be required when booking the initial appointment. Telephone 01642 80 55 00 for more information and to book an appointment.

Which? offer an online service which guides you through writing a power of attorney and once complete you then share it to be reviewed by a Which? specialist before printing, signing and submitting. Costs for this service including the power of attorney start from £99. Find out more.

You can find more information on power of attorney, and LPA's including how to end them and when things go wrong on the national Citizens Advice website.