Q: I set up an Enduring Power of Attorney several years ago in which I appointed my children as my Attorneys. However, a friend has just told me that she recently prepared a Lasting Power of Attorney. Do I now need to do an LPA as well, or is my EPA sufficient?
A: An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) only covers your property and financial affairs, whereas it is now possible to create an LPA that covers your health and welfare as well as your property and financial affairs. These two parts of the LPA are two separate documents and you can create one or both of them, either at the same time or at different times. So if you would like to appoint somebody to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your health and welfare, you should prepare an LPA.
In order for an EPA or an LPA to be put into practice once you, the donor, have lost mental capacity, the document must first be registered at the Office of the Public Guardian.
An EPA can only be registered once the donor has started to lose mental capacity. The registration process at the Office of the Public Guardian can take 8-10 weeks, or longer if a family member objects to the registration, which can therefore create a period of uncertainty with many practical difficulties. There are also certain forms that must be completed and sent to specific family members before an EPA can be registered. This can add further worry and stress at an already difficult time.
In contrast, an LPA can be registered as soon as it has been prepared. It is therefore ready to be used as soon as the donor has lost mental capacity. In respect of property and financial affairs it can be used before loss of capacity, with the donor’s consent, so avoiding uncertainty and additional worry.
Article October 2020
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