EPA vs LPA: what is the difference?

It is no longer possible to make a new EPA (Enduring Power of Attorney). From October 2007 LPAs (Lasting Powers of Attorney) came into effect. You may have an EPA, or perhaps an older member of your family will have an EPA. These are still valid and can still be used provided they are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The difference between the two types of Power of Attorney can be summarised as follows.

Enduring Power of Attorney

An EPA only allows Attorneys to make financial and property decisions.  It does not cover any health or welfare decisions.  When an EPA was made it did not need to be registered with any professional body unless and until it was needed to be used ie if the donor (the person making the EPA) lost capacity.  An EPA therefore, although it is still valid, needs to be sent to the Office of the Public Guardian at the point when the Attorneys need to step in.  The registration process takes a number of weeks to complete and can therefore cause difficulties in Attorneys being able to start paying bills for example. 

Lasting Powers of Attorney

There are two separate LPAs which can be made; Property and Financial and Health and Welfare.  You can also apply to register the LPAs straight away without losing control of your own affairs, so that if your Attorneys ever need to assist you they can do so without any additional delays.  We always recommend that you register the LPAs straight away for this reason, although it is not a legal requirement to do so.

Another feature of the LPA for financial matters is that you can opt to allow your Attorneys to assist you even if you retain capacity.  This can be helpful in the event of a temporary illness, time abroad, loss of mobility, sight or hearing, for example.  An EPA, once registered to be used, removes any control from the donor (the person appointing Attorneys).

Some people who already have an EPA for financial matters prefer to update their Power of Attorney to an LPA so they have peace of mind that if their Attorneys do ever need to act on their behalf, they can do so much more easily than under the EPA. 

Our Wills and Power of Attorney team are very happy to discuss your circumstances and assist you in making your Lasting Powers of Attorney or to register an existing EPA. Please contact us for more information.

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