What is an Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power Of Attorney (EPOA), is a legal document whereby you give authority to another or others to act on your behalf if you become mentally incapable of making decisions on your own behalf. The persons you give authority to are know as attorneys.
The EPOA has no effect until such as you are not mentally capable of managing your own affairs. The persons appointed as attorneys will step in and make decisions on your behalf.
The EPOA documents itself can extend to make personal decisions and decisions in relation to all your property and affairs. You can limit the power that your attorneys may have in the EPOA document itself
A. Personal care decisions: this covers a large area and can include the attorneys being in a position to make the following decisions on your behalf
- where you should live
- with whom you should live
- whom you should see and not see
- what training or rehabilitation you should get
- your diet and dress
- inspection of your personal papers
- housing, social services and other benefits for you
B. Decisions in relation to all your property and affairs: this can cover all decisions relating to all future decisions relating to your property and affairs as set out above. If you want to restrict the powers that give your attorneys these must be included in the EPOA document. If you do not include restrictions it will refer to all of your property and affairs. For example if, in your Will you leave a particular property to one of your children, yet this property could be sold by your attorney, then the money from the sale would then fall into the residue of your estate. A Will only speaks from death and your attorney would not have been aware of the contents of your Will. While the ability to insert restrictions can be very valuable, one should also be aware that the less authority that is given to the attorney by the donor in the EPOA, the greater the risk that the attorney will be unable to manage all of your affairs.
Due to the fact that a EPOA involves giving considerable powers to your attorneys, there are a number of safeguards. The procedure for completing an EPOA involves the involvement of your solicitor and a doctor. There are a number of procedures that must be complied with.
The document creating the power must be in a particular format and includes the following:
- a statement by your doctor verifying that in his/her opinion you had the mental capacity at the time that the document was executed
- a statement from you that you understood the effect of creating the EPOA
- a statement from your solicitor that he/she is satisfied that you understood the effect of creating the EPOA
- certain people must be notified of the making of an EPA, including family members.
The EPOA ceases on your death. On your death your estate will then dealt with according to the terms of your Will or according to the rules on intestacy if you have no Will .
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