A power of attorney (PoA) is a legal document in which someone (the donor) gives another person (the attorney) the right to help them make decisions, or take decisions on their behalf.
A PoA set up before 1 October 2007 is called an enduring power of attorney (EPA). It’s been replaced by the lasting power of attorney (LPA) for health and welfare.
You can no longer make an EPA, but if one was made correctly and signed before 1 October 2007 it may still be used.
An EPA authorises attorneys to make decisions about the donor's property and financial affairs. They can, for example:
- sign documents
- make purchases
- claim benefits
Attorneys must manage the donor’s finances in the donor’s best interests. This means keeping:
- the donor’s finances separate from their own
- accounts of the donor’s assets, income, spending and outgoings
Lasting power of attorney
The donor may want to set up a health and welfare LPA. This is a type of PoA which lets the donor choose attorneys to look after their care and medical treatment should they lose mental capacity.
Registering an EPA
The donor does not need to register the EPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) if they have mental capacity.
An attorney must register the EPA if the donor starts to lose mental capacity. If there’s more than one attorney listed in the EPA, check whether they have been appointed to act jointly, or jointly and severally. If the attorneys have been appointed to act jointly, they will need to apply together to register the EPA.
The attorney(s) must complete form EPG1 and send it to:
- the donor
- any other attorneys appointed under the EPA
- at least three of the donor’s nearest relatives who are aged 18 or over and have mental capacity
The attorney(s) must also complete form EP2PG to register the EPA with OPG. It costs £82. Registration usually takes up to 10 weeks.
Power of attorney fee refund scheme
The Ministry of Justice has launched a scheme to refund those who may have paid more than they should for applying to register PoAs.
If you applied to register an EPA with OPG between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 and paid an application fee, you could be due a partial refund.
Ending an EPA
A donor can end an EPA if they have mental capacity using a deed of revocation.
If the donor does not have mental capacity, the attorney(s) must apply to the Court of Protection to cancel the EPA, using:
This costs £385.
The EPA ends automatically if:
- the donor dies – the attorney(s) must notify OPG
- an attorney loses mental capacity or dies
- an attorney decides they can no longer act for the donor – they must complete form LPA005
Enduring power of attorney: valid example – official sample from OPG of a registered EPA form.
EPA fees: exemption or remission – apply for financial help with paying EPA fees.