Q: My solicitor advised me some years ago to set up an Enduring Power of Attorney so that I could act for my parents and handle their financial affairs. I recently mentioned this to a neighbour who has elderly parents, but when she sought legal advice she was advised to take out a Lasting Power of Attorney. What is the difference?
A: Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) replaced Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) on 1st October 2007. EPAs signed prior to that date are still valid and can be registered but the LPA is far more flexible and you have the option of taking out either a Property and Financial Affairs LPA or a Health and Welfare LPA, or both.
The Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to appoint an attorney to manage your property, finances and affairs when you have the capacity to make your own decisions and when you lack capacity. It also offers the option of giving your Attorney the power to make decisions about part, or all, of your property and financial affairs. A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to appoint an attorney to make decisions on your behalf in respect of healthcare and welfare. In both cases the LPAs cannot be used by the attorneys until they have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Unlike with the EPA, the LPA requires that the person making the LPA is certified to have the mental capacity to do so, and that they are doing so without being subjected to any pressure or fraud. The certificate provider must complete a statement to that effect in the new LPA, stating that they have discussed the LPA with the attorney and are satisfied the attorney understands the scope and purpose of the LPA and that they are under no undue pressure to make it.