How to Activate a Power of Attorney UK

If you have been appointed as someone’s attorney, the time may come when you need to start helping them with their affairs. We take a look at how to activate a Power of Attorney and the steps you will need to take before you can use it.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives a nominated person the authority to make decisions for someone who is no longer able to do this themselves. There are many benefits to having an LPA, and once it has been made, the attorney can ensure that the individual has the help they need.

At Lockings Solicitors, we are LPA experts, providing advice and assistance to attorneys and dealing with the registration of LPAs.

If you need to start using a Lasting Power of Attorney, we can ensure that it has been correctly registered by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and that you have the authority you need to represent the person who appointed you as their attorney.

Our Associate Director and Head of Private Client, Joanne Liversidge, is highly experienced and her and her expert team have helped attorneys deal with difficult matters for many years. She is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national lawyer group focused on helping older and vulnerable clients. She is also a Dementia Friend.

If you are dealing with an LPA for someone, we can provide the guidance and support you need.

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have about activating a Power of Attorney and starting to use it. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

Why use a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Someone who makes an LPA is known as the donor. An LPA gives authority to the donor’s chosen attorney or attorneys to deal with matters on their behalf, should they become unable to do this themselves.

There are two types of LPA:

  • Property and financial affairs LPA; and
  • Health and welfare LPA

A property and financial affairs LPA can be used as soon as it has been made if the donor wants help handling their finances. It can also be used if the donor no longer has the ability to make their own decisions.

A health and welfare LPA can only be used if the donor loses mental capacity.

The main benefit of an LPA is that an attorney can take over the donor’s affairs on their behalf so that financial and care decisions can be made. Without an LPA, families are not able to help loved ones until they have applied to the courts for a deputyship order, which is a long and complex process.

How to activate a Power of Attorney UK

Once an LPA has been made, it should be registered straightaway. This means that it will be ready to use at once, should it ever be needed.

Registering an LPA

A Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before use. The OPG may take four months to deal with the registration, or longer if they have a backlog. If they have questions, this can delay the registration. By registering an LPA as soon as it has been signed, it should be ready to use if needed in the future.

An LPA includes a list of ‘people to notify’. These are the individuals that the donor wants to be told about the registration. Before the LPA is sent to be registered, these individuals must be notified that there is an intention to register the LPA. They have three weeks in which to raise any concerns with the OPG.

There is an online system that can be used to fill in form LP3 to notify people.

Once the notifications have been sent, the signed LPA can be sent to the OPG together with their fee. We can deal with LPA registration on your behalf if necessary.

Activating a Power of Attorney

The online ‘Use a Lasting Power of Attorney’ service

The Office of the Public Guardian offers an online ‘Use a Lasting Power of Attorney’ service. This service is still being rolled out and only LPAs made in recent years can be registered in this way at present.

Donors and attorneys named on an LPA will be sent a reference number and an activation key once an LPA has been registered. These details, along with the donor’s date of birth, can be used to create an online account, to which an electronic version of the LPA document is added.

Once this has been done, a secure access code can be generated for use by third parties, such as banks. The third party will be able to view the LPA online by logging in to the system using the donor’s name and the secure access code. They can download a copy of the LPA for their records.

In the case of property and financial affairs LPAs, a note will appear on the screen if the donor still has mental capacity. If they do, the attorney can only take actions for which they have the donor’s permission.

Activating LPAs without using the LPA online service

If you do not have the option of using the online service, then once the LPA has been registered, a certified copy of it will need to be sent to all of the organisations that need to see it. Most will also have their own forms for attorneys to complete.

We can certify copy LPAs as needed and, if necessary, assist attorneys in sending these to financial and other institutions.

Attorney duties when using a Lasting Power of Attorney

When should I activate a Power of Attorney?

Deciding to take over the management of a loved one’s affairs can be difficult. As well as dealing with the emotional impact, you will also need to decide when the time is right to step in.

Our LPA team have extensive experience of helping attorneys and we can give you advice and guidance if necessary.

To be capable of making a decision, someone should be able to:

  • Understand what could happen if they make a certain decision
  • Retain information about a potential decision for long enough to be able to consider it
  • Understand this information
  • Weigh up the information
  • Communicate the decision once they have made it

It is often the case that someone will have ‘good days’ when they are able to make decisions and days where they cannot. Where the donor has some capacity to understand, they should be helped to make their own decisions wherever possible.

What obligations does an LPA attorney have?

An attorney should take into account a donor’s values and beliefs when making decisions on their behalf.

Attorneys are also bound to:

  • Act within the authority provided by the LPA
  • Adhere to the principles set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, as follows:
    • Assume that the donor has mental capacity unless it is shown that they do not
    • Help the donor to make decisions themselves where possible
    • Remember that the donor has the right to make an unwise decision if they want to
    • Act in the donor’s best interests at all times
    • Choose the decisions which least restrict the donor’s rights and freedoms

Contact our East Yorkshire and York area Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors

If you have been appointed as an attorney and you need help in activating a Power of Attorney, contact us today. Our expert team can give you the advice and support you need and ensure that you start out in your role as an attorney with the right legal authority.

You can ring us for a FREE initial chat on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire area.

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