What is the difference between a Power of Attorney vs Lasting Power of Attorney vs Enduring Power of Attorney?

Imagine you are going on a long trip and need someone to water the plants while you are away. A Power of Attorney (POA) is like giving your spare key to a trusted friend; they can handle things on your behalf for a set period. But what if your trip is indefinite? A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is like giving them a full set of keys – it grants them ongoing authority in case you become unable to make decisions or look after your affairs yourself. 

Both POAs and LPAs allow you to appoint someone you trust to act on your behalf. Here is where they differ: 

  • Timing: A POA typically comes into effect immediately and remains valid until a specified end date or when you revoke it. An LPA, on the other hand, needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before it can be used, and it comes into effect on your instruction or if you lose mental capacity due to illness, injury, or age.  It comes to an end either on your instruction or on your death. 


  • Decision-Making Scope: POAs can be general, granting broad authority for financial matters, or specific, limiting it to tasks like selling a car. LPAs come in two types: one for health and welfare decisions (medical care, living arrangements), and another for property and financial affairs (managing accounts, buying/selling assets). You can choose to create one or both LPAs. 


  • Registration Requirements: POAs generally don't require registration, though some institutions might request a copy for verification. LPAs need to be registered with the OPG, banks and pension providers and the GP or hospital before they can be used. 


Choosing between a POA and LPA depends on your situation. A POA is ideal for temporary situations, whilst an LPA offers long-term security, ensuring your wishes are carried out even if you can't make decisions yourself.  

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was the forerunner to the LPA for Property and Finance.  If you have an EPA, it is still valid as long as your attorneys are willing and able to act.  You can no longer create an EPA, nor can they be amended.  An EPA can be used straightaway and only needs to be registered with the OPG if you have lost mental capacity.  

An EPA does not cover health and welfare decisions. Both a POA and an LPA are legal documents, and you should consider taking advice to determine which option best suits your needs and ensure the documents are drafted correctly.   

Our Wills, Trusts and Estates team can guide you through the whole process, whatever your 

Circumstances. For more information and advice contact Emma Woollard at Prettys Solicitors 01473 298342 or on ewoollard@prettys.co.uk 

Emma Woollard