If you've not heard yet, you only have a few days left to organise your enduring Power of Attorney. Officially, you have until September 30th to get it in place, at which time EPAs will be replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney. If you lose mental capacity because of dementia, you will need someone else to manage your legal, financial and health affairs.
Currently, you can make an 'Enduring Power of Attorney', which means a person of your choosing will be able to manage your finances for you, or someone can apply for 'receivership' on your behalf. From October 1st 2007, you will be able to make a 'Lasting Power of Attorney'; this will enable you to choose a person to make decisions regarding your health and welfare, as well as your finances. So why should you make sure you get your Enduring Power of Attorney in place now? It is sensible to make an EPA, as it enables you to select one or more people to act for you now, if you wish, and in the future, should you become mentally incapable. It gives you the opportunity to have a say about your future; it will also make it easier for your carers to act on your behalf in the future.
You can set up an EPA as long as you are aware of what is involved and can show that you understand the process. What is an EPA? An EPA is a legal process in which you, the 'donor', give the legal right to one or more people, known as the 'attorneys', to manage your financial affairs and property. This power can come into effect immediately, and has the same status as an ordinary power of attorney. This means that your attorneys can manage part or all of your financial affairs for you, or you can continue to manage them yourself while you are able to and handover responsibility later. The difference between an enduring power of attorney and an ordinary power of attorney is that an ordinary power of attorney becomes invalid if the donor becomes mentally incapable, whereas an enduring power of attorney becomes effective, providing the necessary steps are taken.
If you become mentally incapable, your attorneys will apply to register your EPA with the public guardianship office. While the registration is being processed, they can use your finances for essentials on your behalf, such as food or payment of regular bills. How Do You Get an EPA? As there's not much time left, we suggest you approach a good solicitor to organise the forms for you. It's also worth thinking now who you'd want to act as your attorney(s).
You should choose somebody who knows you well and who you trust; this is often a partner or a close family member. However, some people prefer to choose someone with whom they are not so emotionally involved. Why Do an EPA Now? Of course, you could wait until the new legislation after October 1st. At this time you'll be able to a Lasting Power of Attorney.
The main differences are: - An LPA will enable you (the donor) to nominate a spokesperson (the attorney, sometimes referred to as a'donee') to make decisions regarding your personal welfare, including healthcare and consent to medical treatment. Different attorneys can be named for making different kinds of decisions. - A Lasting Power of Attorney is expected to be more expensive than an Enduring Power of Attorney.
The reason for the increase in cost is that it must be registered with the Public Guardianship office before it can be used. The new form will be more comprehensive than the current Enduring Power of Attorney and the whole cost in terms of legal time and Court fees is likely to be higher. Importantly, EPAs set up prior to this date will remain valid.
The Financial Tips Bottom Line: You've got about one week to get your EPA set up. It will be tight, but we believe it's worth doing now to save you additional fees in the future. Copyright (c) 2007 Ray Prince.
Ray Prince is an Independent Financial Planner with Rutherford Wilkinson plc, and helps UK Resident Doctors and Dentists get the best deals on mortgages, protection and investments, as well as helping them achieve their financial objectives. Click here for Financial Advice for UK Doctors and Dentists and to get your free retirement guide, How To Avoid The 7 Most Common Retirement Planning Mistakes. Rutherford Wilkinson plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.