What legal advice can we help with?

Can I still use the Enduring Power of Attorney I made a long time ago?

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a specific legal document by which you appoint a person (or persons) to act as Attorneys on your behalf. Attorneys appointed under an EPA can assist you with your property and financial affairs. People usually appoint family members or their friends, but some people choose to have professionals instead. Your Attorneys are able to assist you and make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to deal with things yourself.

An EPA has to be registered by your Attorneys when you begin to lose the ability to manage your own financial affairs. Your Attorneys will register the EPA by serving notices and making an application to the Office of the Public Guardian.

Can you still make Enduring Powers of Attorney?

We stopped making EPAs in 2007 when the Mental Capacity Act 2005 came into effect. This is because the EPA system was replaced by the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) system.

This means that no new EPAs can be made and you can’t amend an existing one. However you can still register existing EPAs when the time is right.

Some people have chosen to scrap their EPA and to make a new set of LPAs. This is because LPAs are more flexible and useful.

What can EPA Attorneys do?

Attorneys appointed under an EPA can only assist you with your property and financial affairs. This is in contrast to Attorneys appointed under a Health & Welfare LPA, who can also help you with personal matters such as your care and medical treatments.

Can I give my Attorneys the ability to help with my health and welfare?

You can supplement an EPA by making a Health & Welfare LPA. You can appoint the same Attorneys but they will be given the additional ability to make decisions in regard to your care and medical treatment (when you are unable to make decisions for yourself).

However it can be confusing to use both the EPA and LPA systems at the same time. So some people choose to do away with their EPA completely and make a new set of LPAs instead. There are two types of LPA: Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare.

LPAs tend to be registered as soon as they are signed. This is so that the lengthy registration process (between 8-12 weeks) is completed before any problems develop. However EPAs are only registered once you show signs of being unable to manage your own finances i.e. after problems have developed. It can be confusing for you and your Attorneys to register an LPA now but then have to register the EPA in future.

Example:

Mrs Aldridge made an EPA in 2005 appointing her daughter Mary to help with her property and financial affairs when she has lost capacity. In 2019 she also makes a H&W LPA appointing Mary to assist with health and care decisions. The LPA is registered in 2019 so it is ready to be used. However Mary doesn’t register the EPA until 2029 when Mrs Aldridge begins to struggle to look after her finances.

If you would like more information about making a power of attorney please call one of our trusted and experienced solicitors based at our Bournemouth and Christchurch offices:

Clare Lawson – Moordown – 01202 527008
Lloyd Thomas – Lansdowne – 01202 294411
Andrew Lilley – Highcliffe – 01425 282150

Please note, this is not legal advice. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.



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