How Long Does a Power of Attorney Last?

6 January 2023
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person or company (the donor) to grant another person or company (the attorney) the legal authority to act on their behalf and make decisions for them if they are either unable to, or no longer want to make such decisions. This might just be a temporary situation, like if you are in hospital or on holiday, or cannot make trips to the bank or post office and you need someone to help with your finances or other everyday tasks. It might be a longer-term situation, such as to take into account what should happen if you loose capacity and can no longer make decisions for yourself.
Image lasting power of attorney
There are various different types of powers of attorney, which can be used for specific purposes, last for different lengths of time. You can set up more than one depending on your situation and needs. Powers of attorney can provide considerable peace of mind knowing that someone you trust is handling these decisions for you.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

A lasting power of attorney is made by an individual and comes into effect if you no longer have mental capacity or no longer want to make decisions for yourself. A lasting power of attorney lasts until you revoke the same or your death and it is a document that we would recommend everyone should set up to ensure you are covered in the future. 

There are two types of lasting powers of attorney, one for health and welfare decisions and one for property and financial affairs. The former can cover things like what you should eat, what activities you can take part in, where you live and what medical care you are provided with. The latter can cover decisions such as the buying and selling property and investments, paying bills, or arranging for the financing of care, amongst other things.

You can elect to have the property and financial affair power come into effect now so that your attorneys can make decisions with your consent whilst you have capacity, or leave this until you lose capacity. The health and welfare power can only be used when you lack capacity. 

You can also make a lasting power of attorney to look after your business, separate to your own personal financial affairs.

Without lasting powers of attorney, should you lose capacity then there is no one with legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. This means that your family and loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to make these decisions for you. This can take over a year at present and can cost many thousands of pounds, so it is essential that everyone has a lasting power of attorney.

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)

Enduring powers of attorney were replaced by lasting powers of attorney in 2007, but if you signed an enduring power before October 2007, it should still be valid. The enduring power will end at the event of death or if you cancel it. An attorney can also stop their duties by choice. 

Ordinary Power of Attorney

An ordinary or general power of attorney can be created by an individual or company and covers decisions about finances. This is suitable if you will be unavailable for a temporary period like a holiday or if it is easier for someone to act on your behalf. It is valid while you still have mental capacity and will stop in the event that you lack capacity. 

This is a basic power of attorney compared to the others but is still a legally binding document. You can consider an automatic end date, decide if you want to pay the attorney for their services, and if you would prefer one or more attorneys. You can also determine if you want to place any restrictions on the responsibility you are granting for example, you may grant your attorney access to your finances but not your property.

These powers can also be used by companies to grant temporary authority to someone to sign documentation on behalf of the company if it would be easier for that person to sign than the persons who would normally sign the same such as the directors.

How we can help

At John Fowlers Solicitors, our expert team can offer you  advice when it comes to creating your powers of attorney. We will take you through a straightforward, step-by-step process and provide you with documents that are entirely tailored to your unique requirements. Our personal service allows us to make recommendations and discuss the powers available to you that will help you and your  family  prepare for the future and create the powers that you need.