An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) enables a trusted friend, relative or professional to manage your financial affairs if you become unable to do so because of mental incapacity. Mental incapacity might be caused by a stroke or an accident, or perhaps the gradual onset of dementia in old age.

An EPA can only be made while a person has mental capacity, and it is then usually put into safe storage unless needed.

From the end of September it will no longer be possible to make any new EPAs. Those that have already been created will, however, be able to operate under a system that is broadly the same as the current rules, even if mental capacity is not lost until decades from now.

From the end of September, newly created powers to deal with the affairs of those who have lost mental capacity will have to be Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), rather than EPAs. LPAs are not necessarily worse than EPAs in every respect. For example, EPAs can only cover financial arrangements and some individuals will welcome the fact that it will be possible to make an LPA to cover heath and welfare decisions.

We believe, however, that operating a financial LPA will, for many individuals, be more cumbersome, less safe, and more expensive than operating an EPA.

It will also be significantly more expensive to create an LPA than an EPA.

It will be possible to combine a financial EPA made now with a health LPA made after September.