The LPA is a specific form of the more general power of attorney which is widely used in countries which have a common law system. The word attorney in this context is someone (or in some circumstances an organisation such as a company) legally appointed or empowered to act for another person. The person giving the power is known as the donor. The word ‘lasting’ in the context of an LPA means that the power may continue even if the person (though still alive) no longer has capacity to exercise the power.
The former EPA was simple to administer, but failed to provide for some decisions which may have to be made in circumstances that preclude their being made by the person principally affected. In particular, the attorney’s powers under the EPA were largely defined in terms of money and property, and were not related to decisions on medical matters such as the continuation or otherwise of life-sustaining treatment, or welfare matters such as a move to a different kind of accommodation. The primary purpose of the changes under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005) was to rectify this omission, by creating two LPAs: one for property and financial affairs (the LPA(PFA)) and one for Health and Welfare (the LPA(H&W)). The opportunity was also taken to make further changes, where the principal effect was to make the whole apparatus very much more complex, and correspondingly more expensive to administer.