EPAs, LPAs & Wills – making sense of what you need to do
Do you have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) which was set up some time ago? Well the time may have come to relook at that legal document, particularly as EPAs were replaced with the property and financial affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in October 2007.
An EPA appoints someone (‘an attorney’) to help manage your property, money and financial affairs. However, it does not take into account who should make decisions about your health and welfare if you become ill in the future, and with our ageing population this needs some serious consideration.
When clients complete legal documents they sometimes forget all about them and think it’s a box ticked and a job done, but with changes to the law, as well as changes to family circumstances, sometimes it becomes necessary to change your legal documents, whether it’s a Will, or a Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you have a valid and up to date health and care LPA your attorney will be able to make decisions on your behalf if, for example, you have an accident or become ill and you lack the capacity to make a certain decision at the time it needs to be made.
If you made an EPA that was signed and witnessed before October 2007 and it was correctly filled in, it is still valid and can still be registered and used. However, EPAs only cover decisions about finances and property (like the property and affairs LPA). They do not cover health and care decisions, so some people who have a valid EPA might also want to make a health and care LPA to cover decisions about their personal welfare and health/medical treatment.
Even if you do have a valid EPA, the people you appointments may not be the most appropriate choice anymore, depending on if/how your personal circumstances may have changes since the document was set up. You cannot change an existing EPA but instead would need to cancel it and set up an LPA.
Solicitor at Pearson's, believes that planning for the future and making life easier for our families should be at the forefront of our future planning: “Should you become unable to make certain decisions for yourself due to mental incapacity, but not have powers of attorney in place, there may be a time when no one can legally make decisions for you. This can potentially make life extremely difficult for you and your loved ones, who will have no legal authority to act on your behalf. For example, they would not be able to access your money to pay your bills or care costs, or make decisions relating to your health and care.
“If this happens, someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection to obtain power to make those decisions for you. This can be a relative, friend, or a professional person. The Court process is significantly more time-consuming and expensive than making powers of attorney and so I would encourage anyone considering their options to call us for a no obligation chat, to make sure they get the right advice” she added.
For advice on your Will or LPA from one of our solicitors call 0161 785 3500Subscribe to our newsletter
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.