The Different Types of Power of Attorney

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The Different Types of Power of Attorney

You may have heard of power of attorney – but what does it actually mean? We break it down a little further explaining what it is, the different types and also what happens if you do not have a power of attorney appointed.

Let’s get into it…

What is power of attorney?

Power of attorney is a legal document that is created to appoint an individual to act on another person’s behalf should they become incapacitated or incapable of making decisions that relate to their legal, medical, financial and/or business matters.

Many people believe that simply being married is enough to grant their spouse the ability to act on their behalf should they become unable to do so, however this isn’t the case.  The same applies to family members including children – nothing is automatically granted and a power of attorney does need to be appointed.

Different types

There are different types of power of attorney and it is important to understand the differences – you can set up more than one.

Ordinary power of attorney
Valid whilst you have mental capacity, this power of attorney covers decisions relating to your financial affairs. This is suitable if:

    • you need to have cover for a shorter, temporary period such as a holiday or hospital stay,
    • you want to have someone act on your behalf
    • you find it hard to get out


Lasting power of attorney
This type of power of attorney, also known as LPA, covers decisions which need to be made regarding your financial affairs or your health and care. This type comes into effect if you lose your mental capacity to make decisions, or if you decide you no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.   To ensure your future self is covered, you would set up an LPA.

Enduring power of attorney
Also known as EPAs, this type of power of attorney was replaced by LPA in 2007 – however if this was created prior to October 2007, it is still valid.  An EPA covers decisions that need to be made regarding financial decisions including properties and would come into effect if you lose mental capacity or want someone to make decisions on your behalf.

What happens if no power of attorney is in place?

If you lose your mental capacity and you have no power of attorney in place, a court will appoint someone to be your deputy – and an individual can put themselves forward, provide that nobody objects to this application. But of course, this does mean that someone could be appointed that perhaps doesn’t have your best interests at heart. If no one can be appointed, the court will usually appoint the local authority to act, which can be distressing for families as this will have a direct impact on the decisions that need to be made regarding care, housing etc.


Check back for our next blog covering the two types of LPAs coming at the end of June.

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