Since 1st October 2007 it is no longer possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). These documents were replaced by a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Property and Financial Affairs.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a document which appoints another person (the attorney) to manage the property and financial affairs of another (the donor). The attorney can assist the donor in managing their financial affairs. This would include running bank and savings accounts, paying bills, making purchases, and claiming benefits. An EPA signed before 1st October should still be valid.
When should an EPA be registered?
Subject to any restrictions in the EPA, it took legal effect when it was signed. Thereafter, like an LPA for Property and Financial Affairs, an EPA continues in force after the donor has lost capacity. However, with an EPA registration only takes place once an attorney has reason to believe that the donor has lost capacity. Prior to that it cannot be registered. Although the EPA can still be used even though it has not been registered, whilst the registration procedure is taking place, the attorney can only use the power for limited reasons.
Comparison with LPAs
Under the provisions of an EPA, it is not possible to make health and care decisions. Since 1st October 2007 the donor has had the option of taking out a health and welfare LPA. In addition, an LPA for Property and Financial Affairs is more comprehensive and flexible than an EPA. For instance, with an LPA, you can include replacement attorneys, preferences, and instructions.
Why you should review your EPA
If you already have an EPA, it would have been created more than 15 years ago. Circumstances may have changed, and the EPA could be out of date. An attorney may have died or may for some other reason no longer be suitable to be an attorney. An EPA may have been made whilst your children were young. If they are now adults, they may be the best people to be your attorneys.
It is common for a client when reviewing their legal documents to decide to replace their EPA with an LPA for Property and Financial Affairs. At the same time, they may also make an LPA for health and welfare.
In summary if you have an existing EPA although it is likely still to be valid, it will certainly need to be reviewed and consideration should be given into setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney.
If you wish to review your EPA, or to discuss the preparation and registration of LPAs, please speak with one of our friendly Life Planning Team on 01904 624903 who will be able to help.