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Lasting power of Attorney

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 brought about significant changes in the law so far as it relates to granting powers of attorney to others to deal with your affairs.

A key change was the replacement of the enduring power of attorney with the lasting power of attorney. Whereas the enduring power of attorney covered just property the lasting power of attorney can include decisions of personal health and welfare which has been welcomed, as well as finances and property.

This has meant important decisions about an elderly relatives care can be made within the family instead of by Social Services in the event of mental incapacity. This has clearly been a positive change. On the downside however, whereas an enduring power of attorney only needed to be registered when the individual became mentally incapable, the lasting power of attorney must be registered in advance.

A lasting power of attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions for you when you lose mental capacity. In relation to a lasting power of attorney for property and finances you are also able to elect for your attorney to make decisions even before you lose mental capacity, following registration.

Attorneys must always make decisions in your best interests and in accordance with the code of practice set out in the Mental Capacity Act.