This is a question people often ask. It might help to consider the history of these documents and what they do.

Enduring Powers of Attorney’s have been around for a long time. They are a legal document giving your Attorneys the power to deal with your affairs if you lose mental capacity. They deal with matters such as the sale of property and making investments. They can only be used, when a person has lost mental capacity. They need to be registered with the Office of Public Guardian before they can be used.

In October 2007 Lasting Powers of Attorneys were introduced. There are two distinct types. Firstly, one called Finance and Property. This is similar to the old Enduring Power of Attorney. The new documents have a “Certificate Provider” to oversee what has gone on. They can also be used if a person is incapacitated but has not lost mental capacity. For example, if you are in hospital for a long time. The documents should be registered straight away, after signing, rather than waiting until the need arises.

A disadvantage with the old documents was that it is sometimes difficult to know if a person has mental capacity or not. It may need a medical professional to decide.

The government also introduced a second type of Lasting Power of attorney called “Health and Welfare”. These are concerned with a person’s medical treatment, and care, after they have lost
mental capacity. Questions can often arise, that you might ask a person, but cannot, for example if they have suffered a stroke or dementia. Common examples could be “Should we operate?” if a person needs an operation, but their health is not good. Another is “Where should I live?” for example this might be at home, or alternatively in a care home. If attorneys have been appointed they can legally make such a decision.

What to do next ?

If you would like to discuss your circumstances with regards to writing a Will, setting up a trust or a lasting power attorney, then please call 0845 689 1495 or get in touch via our secure contact form here .