What is the Difference Between a Power of Attorney and a Lasting Power of Attorney?

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If you are concerned about not being able to make decisions relating to certain aspects of your life, you may be able to empower someone that you trust to assist with making these decisions. This can be done by granting a Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney depending on the circumstances and your requirements.

A standard Power of Attorney can be used to temporarily give someone the authority to make decisions regarding your finances. This is often used when you will not be present to make those decisions yourself, for example, when in hospital or on a holiday.

In comparison, a Lasting Power of Attorney can give someone permanent authority to assist with decisions about your finances, health and personal welfare as required. A Lasting Power of Attorney will only come into effect if you are deemed to have lost the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself, so it offers protection against future accident or ill health.

Please note: both types of Power of Attorney can only be entered into when you have full mental capacity.

Key terms

Donor – The person who creates the Power of Attorney, empowering someone else to make decisions for them

Attorney – The person acting under a Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney (PoA)?

Having Power of Attorney gives one person the authority to make decisions on another’s behalf. This is often used in the event that an individual can’t be present to sign a financial document or make a decision.

The person acting under a Power of Attorney is trusted to stand in for an individual and handle matters relating to property, financial assets or investments.

The individual who is granting Power of Attorney is able to choose whether to give full or partial control over their finances. They should also set a date for when the Power of Attorney ends.

Powers of Attorney can only be used where the individual who set it up is still capable of making decisions for themselves. In the event that the individual loses mental capacity, the POA is no longer valid.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

Lasting Powers of Attorney allow an individual to make decisions for someone if they lose the mental capacity to do so themselves. This could be due to an accident or an illness like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:

  • Health and welfare LPA – This type of LPA can be used to makes decisions regarding medical care, living situations, the diet and daily care of the individual.
  • Property and finance LPA – This type can be used to make decisions regarding the purchasing or selling of a property, handling tax, claiming benefits, managing bank accounts, investments, etc.

Once a Lasting Power of Attorney has been set up, it will only come into effect if mental capacity has been lost. It is important to note that an LPA has no expiry date.

How to apply for a Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney

It is possible to set up a Power of Attorney through the government’s online form. If you do not want to apply online, you can contact the Office of the Public Guardian for an application pack.

If you have any questions regarding what type of PoA is right for you or require assistance with the application process, speak to a specialist Power of Attorney solicitor. You should always take specialist advice before creating a Power of Attorney or LPA to make sure you fully understand its implications and that the powers it gives are appropriately limited.

It is possible to appoint multiple attorneys, but it must be decided beforehand whether they will need to make decisions together or be able to act separately.

Replacement attorneys can also be nominated at this stage. This is in case one of the appointed attorneys loses mental capacity themselves, is in an accident, or simply no longer wants to act as an attorney.

Key differences between Powers of Attorney and Lasting Powers of Attorney

The key differences are:

Powers of Attorney Lasting Powers of Attorney
Time limited Permanent
Can only be used when the donor has mental capacity Used when the donor loses mental capacity
Can only be used for financial affairs Can be used for financial affairs, property, health and welfare decisions

Can you still use an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)?

Enduring Powers of Attorney served a similar role to LPAs before 1 October 2007 when LPAs were introduced. You can still use an EPA that was created before this date, as long as it was properly prepared and signed.

Contact our Lasting Power of Attorney solicitors in Gloucestershire

If you would like to create a Lasting Power of Attorney or discuss your personal circumstances, please contact your local WSP Solicitors office in Gloucester, Stroud or Dursley.

If you have a quick question or would like to request a call back, you can also use our simple online enquiry form.


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