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What is a lasting power of attorney?

Life’s unpredictable so plan ahead while you have the mental capacity to do so. Here we explain how a lasting Power of attorney can help you prepare.

Plan ahead with a lasting power of attorney

It’s understandable that end of life plans usually focus on making sure loved ones are provided for. This explains why over 50s life insurance is a popular choice. What’s harder to think about is what would happen to you if you were no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Building power of attorney into your future plans, will better prepare you for whatever life throws at you.

couple looking at administrative and financial document

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is the legal authority for another person to act on your behalf.

There are two types of power of attorney

Ordinary power of attorney

Gives someone the authority to look after your financial affairs for a period of time. For example, if you’re physically ill or abroad for a long time. An ordinary power of attorney is automatically withdrawn if you lose mental capacity.

Lasting power of attorney (LPA)

Gives someone the authority to look after your affairs and make decisions for you, if, in the future, you become unable to or choose not to. For example, a dementia diagnosis. A lasting power of attorney must be set up while you have the mental capacity to do so.

What a lasting power of attorney covers

Health and welfare LPA

Gives someone the authority to make a range of decisions relating to your care on your behalf. From what you should eat or wear, to very important decisions, such as the medical treatment you receive.

A health and welfare LPA only comes into force at the point you can no longer make these decisions for yourself.

talking to a doctor

Property and financial affairs LPA

Gives someone the authority to make a range decisions about your money and property. From collecting your benefits to paying your bills and selling your home.

With your permission, a property and financial affairs LPA can be used as soon as it’s registered.

close up of an aged businessman using a laptop

Who needs a lasting power of attorney

A lasting power of attorney is not only for the old and the sick. Illnesses such as dementia, a stroke or serious injury can affect anyone’s mental capacity at any time and at any age.

Also, if you’re married or in a civil partnership, the right to make decisions on your behalf, is not given to your partner automatically.

That’s why it’s worth setting up a lasting power of attorney regardless of your age, your health or relationship. Life is unpredictable and no one knows what might happen in the future.

door of an emergency ambulance

How to make a lasting power of attorney

  • Choose your attorney or attorneys - the person or people you want to act on your behalf
  • Fill in the forms - available online at GOV.UK
  • Register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian as soon as possible – this stage can take up to 10 weeks

The process is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What it costs

Registering a lasting power of attorney costs £82 unless you’re entitled to a reduction or exemption if you’re on a low income or benefits.

Changing or ending a Lasting power of attorney

You can change or end a lasting power of attorney at any time as long as you have the mental capacity to do so. For example, if your relationship with an attorney changes.

Your LPA automatically ends on your death. From this point onwards, your executors or administrators will manage your affairs.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services. Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.