A Change of Power; in Order: Edwin Thorman Has Set Up an EPA

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Byline: JO THORNHILL

A shake-up of the rules that allow someone to look after your financialaffairs if you become mentally incapacitated is on the way in October.

The popular enduring power of attorney (EPA) arrangement will be replaced bylasting power of attorney (LPA), which will offer new benefits and safeguardsbut will be dearer.

There will be two types of LPA - a property and affairs LPA, which givescontrol over financial matters, and a personal welfare version, which coversmedication and care. You do not need to have both.

An LPA must be registered with the courts at the time it is set up. Incontrast, an EPA, once set up, has to be registered with the courts, at a costof [pounds sterling]120, only when someone becomes mentally incapacitated.

A standalone EPA costs between [pounds sterling]75 and [pounds sterling]150 to be drawn up by a solicitor,though costs vary greatly depending on the firm.

Solicitors say an LPA will be more expensive because the forms are longer andmore complex. It is estimated they will cost about [pounds sterling]300 to [pounds sterling]400. On top of thisis the [pounds sterling]150 to register one with the Office of the Public Guardian, aGovernment agency set up to safeguard those with mental incapacity.

LPAs and EPAs can be set up to take effect immediately or at a future date. Inmany cases there is never any need for it to become active.

Karen Swaits, solicitor at Davis Blank Furniss in Manchester, says existingEPAs, whether they are registered or not, will still stand after October 1.

Swaits says: 'Appointing a power of attorney is a bit like taking out aninsurance policy. …