Your LPA: Think About – Instructions & Preferences

This article gives examples of Instructions and Preferences you may wish to add to your Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) before they are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.  It is not exhaustive but should help you to give thought to any specific Instructions or Preferences of your own that you would like to add.


By entering an Instruction into your LPA, you are creating a binding duty for the attorneys to follow.  Instructions must therefore be very carefully considered to ensure that the LPA overly is not so restrictive that it makes the Attorney’s job more difficult than it needs to be.

There are some compulsory Instructions, where one of a choice of options must be included, that are essential to allowing your Attorneys to act on your behalf. You may choose to add more to direct you Attorneys to always act in line with your wishes on certain matters.

Once an LPA has been registered the Instructions in it cannot be changed – a new LPA would need to be created and the original one revoked.


By entering a Preference into your LPA, you are giving general guidance on how you would like you finances, or personal care and welfare managed.  However, your attorneys DO NOT have to follow these if they feel an alternative action is in your best interests.

Once your LPAs are registered you can only add new Preferences using a separate letter of wishes which should be kept with your LPA documents.  Once again, these Preferences are not binding on the Attorneys.

Health and Welfare Instruction Examples

  1. Compulsory InstructionLife sustaining treatment.
    You must choose whether your attorneys can give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment on your behalf.
    If your Attorneys are being given authority for life-sustaining treatment, are there any particular wishes or restrictions you wish to include? Life-sustaining treatment means care, surgery, medicine or other help from doctors that’s needed to keep you alive, for example: a serious operation, such as a heart bypass or organ transplant; cancer treatment; artificial nutrition or hydration (food or water given other than by mouth). Whether some treatments are life-sustaining depends on the situation.  If you had pneumonia, a simple course of antibiotics could be life-sustaining.  Decisions about life-sustaining treatment can be needed in unexpected circumstances, such as a routine operation that didn’t go as planned.
  2. Do you already have in place an Advanced Decision or Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) form which the attorneys need to refer to?
  3. Do you have any food beliefs or allergies that need to be considered? g. vegetarian or allergic to gluten?
  4. Decisions regarding loss of independence: “My attorneys must not decide I am to move into residential care unless, in my doctor’s opinion, I can no longer live independently”
  5. Religious or ethical views: “My attorneys must not consent to any medical treatment involving blood products, as it is against my religion”

Health and Welfare Preference Examples

  1. “I would like to take prescribed generic medicines where available”
  2. “I would like to take exercise at least three times a week whenever I am physically able to do so. Whether or not I am mobile, I would like to spend time outdoors at least once a day”
  3. “I would like my pets to live with me for as long as possible—if I go into a care home, I would like to take them with me”
  4. “I would like to have regular haircuts, manicures and pedicures”

Property and Financial Affairs Instruction Examples

  1. Compulsory Instruction – When can your Attorneys make decisions?
    An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it may be used. You must include an instruction within the LPA to then allow the LPA to be used either:

    1. as soon as the LPA has been registered, OR
    2. only when you do not have mental capacity

      While you have mental capacity, you will be in control of all decisions affecting you. If you choose option A your Attorneys can only make decisions on your behalf if you allow them to – for example to deal with a complicated matter that you would like to have help with.  They are responsible to you for any decisions you let them make.  Your attorneys must always act in your best interests.

  2. Your Will can be disclosed to a Property and Financial Affairs LPA attorney unless you include instructions to say otherwise. However, your Attorneys DO NOT have the power to amend your Will.
  3. In the absence of instructions to say otherwise, Property and Financial Affairs Attorneys have a power to make gifts to charities that the donor may have given to and gifts to family members, friends and acquaintances of the donor on customary occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries or religious holidays.
  4. You may wish to say: “My Attorneys must not sell my home unless, in my doctor’s opinion, I can no longer live independently”.
  5. Attorneys can claim reasonable expenses, such as postage, travel costs and the cost of an accountant preparing annual accounts unless you instruct otherwise. Bear in mind that if you disallow this some potential Attorneys may be unwilling or unable to take on the role.
  6. If you already hold investments with a Discretionary Fund Manager (DFM) you should include an instruction to allow the DFM to continue to manage your investments. In the absence of this their authority to act under their own discretion will lapse should you lose Mental Capacity.

Property and Financial Affairs Preference Examples

  1. “I like to reinvest all interest from each year’s investments into next year’s ISA allowance”
  2. “I prefer to invest in ethical funds”
  3. “My attorneys may transfer my investments into a Discretionary Management Scheme (Discretionary Fund Management)”

Further reading

Form LP12 which is available on the Government website gives further guidance on the choices you need to consider when instructing your LPAs.  You may download it here. is a useful reference for Health and Welfare instructions and preferences.