THERE ARE SEVERAL reasons why creating an Enduring Power of Attorney is a good idea:
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document that allows you to choose one or more trusted individuals to act on your behalf to look after your personal and financial affairs in the event that you lose mental capacity.
A general power is usually given to your Attorney(s) to act on your behalf. However, this power can be extended or restrictions can be put in place to limit the power. The extent of the power can be tailored to suit your needs when creating the EPA.
EPA's can also be used in the event of a temporary loss of capacity and can be cancelled once capacity has been regained.
The Enduring Power of Attorney only takes effect when you lose capacity. An application must be made to the High Court by your Attorney to register the EPA. There are many safe guards in place to ensure that the EPA is not registered where it is not required.
It is important to note that the loss of capacity refers to your mental capacity only. Therefore, you should not be concerned that any physical incapacity will cause the EPA to be registered.
Enduring Powers of Attorney do not only apply to older people. Capacity may be lost in a number of ways, for example through sudden and unexpected illness, accidents or strokes.
An Enduring Power of Attorney can only be created when you have mental capacity to do so. It is therefore important that if you are worried about losing capacity that you take steps now to put an EPA in place before losing capacity.
Firstly, contact a solicitor who will guide you through the process. You will have to choose your Attorney(s). You may choose a spouse, partner, friend, family member, colleague or other person. You may choose more than one person to act as your Attorney.
The EPA must be signed by you, your Attorneys and your doctor certifying that you have capacity to create an EPA.
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This article is a general review of the law on the subject and is not intended to be a complete statement of the law. Specific legal advice must be sought on a case by case basis. For further information, please contact Sarah Fleming.