A Swindon solicitor is warning elderly people with an old-style power of attorney not to be persuaded that they need to pay out for a new version.
Alison Griffiths, wills and probate manager at Optimum Professional Services, says there is sometimes confusion about whether older Enduring Powers of Attorney, or EPAs, are valid and wants to reassure people that they are.
“The rules around powers of attorney changed on 1st October 2007,” said Alison. “Before that date, there was one type of power of attorney – an Enduring Power of Attorney – and this could not be registered until the person began to become mentally incapacitated.
“After that date, two new types of Lasting Power of Attorney were introduced, one for property and financial affairs and one for health and welfare, and both need to be registered before they can be used. But that doesn’t mean that the old style EPAs are invalid.”
Alison said she was currently advising an elderly couple who had been persuaded by an independent will writer to part with more than £800 for new style LPAs when their existing ones were still current.
She said: “I think there is some confusion because of the change that took place in 2007, but if you have an old EPA it is completely adequate to use if and when the time comes. In the case of this couple, their EPA was fine and there was no need for them to spend money on a new one.”
She added that people with the older style Enduring Power of Attorney should double check the date, to ensure they were signed before the new rules came in.
“If, for example, they were signed and dated after 1st October 2007, by either the donor – that is the person taking out the power of attorney – or those appointed as attorneys, then they won’t be valid. My advice is, if you have the old style Enduring Power of Attorney, check it was completed before the rules changed and then they will be valid.”