What is an Enduring power of attorney? An Enduring power of attorney is the method in which we can give the right to our attorneys, to manage our financial affairs and property. This power can come into effect immediately or it can be delayed until after you have become medically certified that you are unfit to manage your financial affairs.
The difference between an Enduring power of attorney and an Ordinary power of attorney (OPA) is that an OPA becomes invalid if you become unable to manage your finances. An Enduring power of attorney remains effective, provided it’s registered with the Office of Care and Protection (OCP).
When should you consider making an Enduring power of attorney?
You should consider giving somebody Enduring power of attorney if you have property, savings, investments or any income apart from benefits. You can select people to act for you now or in the future, should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. You can appoint your solicitor a relative or a friend. This will also make it easier for your carers to act on your behalf in the future.
How to make a Enduring power of attorney?
If you are considering making an Enduring power of attorney you should seek the advice of your solicitor.
An Enduring power of attorney must be recorded on a specific and completed, signed and witnessed correctly or it will not be valid.
It may help to avoid later misunderstandings if you call a family meeting to explain your reasons for making an Enduring power of attorney but it is not essential.
Selecting an attorney
Consider the age and circumstances of any prospective attorney, and whether they will have the time and energy for such a commitment.
Consider whether to give your attorney a general authority or limited to certain actions or assets.
It is advisable to keep arrangements as simple as you can. The kind of activities an attorney can carry out on your behalf include:
The attorney(s) may also have limited powers to use your assets to benefit anyone for whom you might have been expected to make provision. These circumstances might include buying gifts on special occasions (for example for family or friends on their birthdays), or to continue to make donations to charities that you have donated to in the past.
It is important to note that the attorney has no power over you. The attorney(s) cannot direct where you live or what medical treatment or care you receive.
An attorney must act in the best interests of the person as far as possible.
They must not take advantage of your position to gain any benefit for themselves. They must keep your money separate from their own should also keep accounts of any dealings on your behalf.
Registering the EPA
When it is considered that you are unable to manage your affairs the attorney should put you and your relatives on notice of their intention to register the Enduring power of attorney.
An application to register must be made to the Office of Care and Protection. The OCP will hold the papers for 35 days from the date that the last notice was sent. This gives you and your relatives time to make any objections. If there are no problems, registration will take place.
Once the EPA has been registered, the attorney(s) can make binding decisions about your financial affairs. The OCP can ask attorneys to produce accounts for them to check, although this usually only occurs if there has been a query or complaint about the way the Enduring power of attorney is being handled.
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