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What are the different types of power of attorney?

In England and Wales there are three main Powers of Attorney:

1. Ordinary Power of Attorney (OPA) (also known as General Power of Attorney)

This grants someone else permission to deal with an account, but can be cancelled at any time and becomes null and void if the donor loses the mental ability to make decisions.

An OPA is often put in place by people who find it difficult to manage their finances but still have the ability to make decisions. An OPA allows the donor to limit the powers of their chosen attorney, and ultimately revoke that power should they wish.

2. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

This allows someone else to make decisions on another person’s behalf. An LPA remains in place if the donor loses the mental capacity to make decisions themselves.

An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in England and Wales before it can be used. Once registered, the LPA can be used if the donor still has mental capacity unless the LPA specifies otherwise.

There are two types of LPA:

  • Property and Financial Affairs - this allows someone to access or manage a donor’s finances. This is the LPA that would be needed to manage someone’s bank account(s).
  • Health and Personal Welfare - this type of LPA relates to medical decisions and day-to-day care. It does not allow someone to access and manage a donor’s finances.

3. Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)

Enduring Power of Attorney was replaced by Lasting Power of Attorney on 1st October 2007. However, we can still register EPAs on our records if they were drawn up and signed prior to 1st October 2007.

Unlike an LPA, the EPA can be used without having been registered whilst the donor retains mental capacity. Once the donor loses the metal capacity to make decisions for themselves, the EPA must be registered with the relevant Office of Public Guardian.  

EPAs only cover decisions relating to property and financial matters and not health and personal welfare.

In Scotland, there are four types of Power of Attorney:

1. General Power of Attorney

This is similar to the Ordinary Power of Attorney in England and Wales.

2. Continuing Power of Attorney

This is similar to the Lasting Power of Attorney in England and Wales, though is specific to property and financial affairs.

3. Welfare Power of Attorney

This, again, is similar to the Lasting Power of Attorney in England and Wales, though is specific to health and personal welfare.

4. Combined Power of Attorney

As the name suggests, this is a combination of a Continuing Power of Attorney and a Welfare Power of Attorney and is similar to the Lasting Power of Attorney in England and Wales.

For more information on Power of Attorney in Scotland, please visit the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) website.

In Northern Ireland, there are two types of Power of Attorney:

1. General Power of Attorney

This is similar to the Ordinary Power of Attorney in England and Wales.

2. Enduring Power of Attorney

This is similar to the Enduring Power of Attorney in England and Wales.

For more information on Power of Attorney in Northern Ireland, please visit the Office of Care and Protection website.

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