In both regular powers of attorney and enduring powers of attorney (“EPA”) the maker (called a “donor”) appoints someone to make financial decisions on his or her behalf. The person appointed to make those decisions is called the “attorney”. There are a number of differences between a regular power of attorney and an EPA. The most significant differences are:
A regular power of attorney takes effect immediately. The maker of an EPA can choose to have the EPA come into effect immediately or come into effect only when the maker is no longer capable of making his or her own financial decisions. The ability of the maker to make his or her own financial decisions is usually determined by a medical practitioner. At that point in time the EPA “springs” into effect.
A regular power of attorney comes to an end when the maker is no longer capable of making his or her own financial decisions. An EPA that came into effect prior to the maker’s incapacity stays in effect when the maker is no longer capable of making his or her own financial decisions – hence the reason for the word “Enduring”.
These differences can be illustrated by an example. A husband has a bank account at the bank. In order to assist him with banking he signs a regular power of attorney giving his wife the ability to use the bank account on his behalf. The husband suffers a stroke and is no longer capable of making his own financial decisions. At that point the regular power of attorney comes to an end and the wife can no longer use the account on behalf of the husband. If the husband had made an Enduring Power of Attorney (either an immediate or springing EPA) the wife could have continued to use the bank account after the husband’s incapacity.
At Fric, Lowenstein & Co. LLP we can assist you with making a regular or enduring power of attorney. Contact us and we can help you decide which is right for you.