A property and affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a power of attorney which allows you to authorise one or more named persons to make decisions on your behalf in order to manage your property and financial affairs if you are no longer able or willing to do so yourself.
What differentiates an LPA from the old-style Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is that once an LPA is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, your attorney can act before and after you lack capacity. EPAs that were in place before these were abolished (1 October 2007) continue to be valid. Under an EPA, however, if the donor (the person who made the EPA) loses the mental capacity to make decisions on their own behalf, it is then necessary to go to court in order to obtain confirmation of the right to act.
The advantage of having an LPA in place is that it enables other family members or trusted friends to take over dealing with your affairs smoothly and progressively in the event that you lose the capacity or the will to do so. When decisions have to be made for you, your attorney must always act in your best interests.