We have been helping our clients for over 21 years, which includes a time when Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) were the only tool we had to assist should we lose our mental capacity. We wrote many EPAs pre-2007, which is when the law changed, but the vast majority of our clients have now chosen to update their EPAs to LPAs (Lasting Powers of Attorney). However, we have clients out there who still have Enduring Powers of Attorney and there are many people (not our clients) who are under the illusion that their EPAs are sufficient. So, for those people who still have EPAs, here are a few pointers as to why you might wish to consider updating them now:
- Your EPA cannot be registered on the Government register until you have lost your mental capacity. But, your EPA cannot be used by your attorneys until it has been registered. It is currently taking six months to register any power of attorney so this means there will be a 6-month delay in your attorneys being able to assist you should you lose your capacity. LPAs, on the other hand, can be registered straightaway so they are ready to be used as and when required.
- In addition, there is an extra, compulsory, safeguarding procedure that forms part of the EPA registration process. As much time may have passed between when you set up your EPAs and when you need to use them, it is necessary that your attorneys notify a prescriptive, and potentially lengthy, list of relatives before they may apply to register your EPAs. This can involve writing to remoter relatives with whom you are no longer in touch. Either way, this is a time-consuming process but one that does not have to be followed when you register LPAs. In any event, were you to opt to draw up new LPAs, we would register these for you at the time as part of the service we offer to our clients.
- Your EPA is restricted to your financial affairs only. However, you are also able to set up an LPA for Health & Welfare matters which enables your chosen attorneys to make critical decisions for you such as your care package, whether you get cared for at home, whether you need to go into care and, if so, which care home. It also enables them to speak with the medics and the social workers concerning matters such as medication but, more importantly, life-sustaining treatment decisions. Many people assume that their spouse and close family will automatically have the authority to manage these areas of their lives but they don’t. Of course, they will be involved but the ultimate decisions can only be taken by third parties such as medics and social services if you don’t have a Health and Welfare LPA in place.
- You may only have named your spouse as your attorney on your EPA and this may no longer be appropriate. You may wish to nominate others who can work with or independently from a spouse or partner.
- You may only have listed one of your children as an attorney as the others were too young to act but now you may wish to include more family members or friends to act on your behalf. This is of course possible with an LPA.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of reasons to take out LPAs so if you would like to discuss this topic with us further then please contact us on 0191 406 0747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.