Enduring powers of attorney (EPA) were abolished on 1 October 2007 to make way for lasting powers of attorney.

There is only one type of EPA and it deals with property and financial affairs.  This allows the people chosen (the attorneys) to manage a person’s finances if they are mentally or physically incapacitated and allows them to pay the bills.

An EPA is still valid today as long as it was

  • validly signed before 1 October 2007 by the person making the document and
  • validly signed before 1 October 2007 by the attorneys.

The EPA may still be valid even if not all of the attorneys signed before 1 October 2007 and the document should be looked at by a professional if you are unsure.

If you have been appointed as an attorney and you are concerned about a person’s mental capacity, then you are under an obligation to find out if that person has lost or is losing mental capacity to manage their financial affairs.

If this is the case, then the EPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian by the attorneys.  Once the EPA has been registered, the attorneys can manage a person’s property and financial affairs and make the best decisions for that person when they are no longer able to make those decisions for themselves.

Where a person wishes to make provision for their health and welfare, they can prepare a health and welfare lasting powers of attorney (LPA). This allows the attorneys to make health decisions for that person such as how they are cared for to and what type of life sustaining treatment they are given.

As an EPA does not cover health and welfare decisions, it is possible that a person may have a valid EPA and also a health and welfare LPA.  It is important to check if this is the case, as the attorneys may be different people.