Why are Enduring Powers of Attorney so important?

Published 3 June 2020

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPAO) is a legal document which enables you to decide who you trust to make decisions about your finances, property or affairs, in the event that you are no longer able to do so and to appoint them as your Attorney.

Age-related issues, such as dementia, are often the reason that people are no longer able to make such decisions. However, an event such as an accident or illness could also have this impact. This is particularly relevant in the current climate we find ourselves in.

Without a valid Enduring Power of Attorney those closest to you could be faced with having to make an application to the Office of Care and Protection to give them authority to act on your behalf with regards to your affairs and to become a Controller.

The application process for being appointed as a Controller can take a long time and the costs are higher than for the EPOA process. Most importantly, however, the choice of who to appoint to act in your best interests, rests with the Court based on the evidence provided to it, not with you. Therefore, we highly recommend that our clients while they are still mentally capable, nominate someone to step in as their attorney if the time comes when they lose their capacity.  An Enduring Power of Attorney is subject to conditions and safeguards and so there is always that level of protection.

An Enduring Power of Attorney covers decisions your Attorney may need to make concerning your property and finances. This includes the more mundane matters, such as managing your bank account, but also includes significant decisions, for example, selling your home and investing the proceeds to provide an income in the event you need to go into a residential care home.

These decisions can only be made on your behalf if you lack the capacity to make them yourself and only if the EPOA is registered with the Office of Care and Protection.

Our Private Client team here at MKB Law will be able to help you with structuring and drafting your EPOAs and will manage the process of registering the EPOAs with the Office of Care and Protection. At MKB Law, our specialists regularly assist with the ongoing running of EPOAs, so we understand how they should be drafted to ensure the smoothest running of them if they need to be implemented.

This article is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional legal advice.

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