What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Enduring Power Of Attorney (or EPA).

EPA enduring power of attorneyWhat is an Enduring Power of Attorney? People tend to think that someone else will look after their financial and other matters if they become unable to manage through accident or illness. In point of fact, even a spouse (husband/ wife/ civil partner) cannot sort out everything (in fact, very little). It may become necessary to ask the Court of Protection to manage matters, usually via a solicitor,for which they will charge a LOT of money, so it pays to be prepared! The same applies to most businesses.

Since October 2007, no new Enduring Power of Attorney can be written, though old ones (if correctly signed before 1st October 2007) remain valid. Click here for information on Lasting Powers of Attorney which do the job of EPAs and rather more.

In our experience, quite a lot of Enduring Powers of Attorney were not set up in the best possible way, and may well need to be replaced with better drafted Lasting Powers of Attorney – and of course, they did NOT cover welfare matters such as where you live, who you see, medical treatment etc.

Common problems with Enduring Powers of Attorney.

The usual one is one that many clients insisted on.  The EPA says “This document to be of n effect until such time as the donor has lost or is losing mental capacity.”  That means that nothing whatever can be done with the Enduring Power of Attorney unless it can be proved that the person has lost the ability to make decisions, in effect, permanently. so the EPA would be useless in the event of an accident or temporary illness, no matter how severe.  Mental capacity is not a simple concept – you can be fit to make one type of simple decision yet unfit to make a more complex decision at the same time.  You can be ill one day (or even batty because your medication is wrong) and the next day mentally fit as a flea (perhaps no the best choice of word!)  Enduring Powers of Attorney are black or white.  You have either lost mental capacity in which case the EPA can be used permanently – or you haven’t in which case it can’t be used at all, no matter how vital!