An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a document that lets you appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf – an Attorney (or Attorneys).
It is imperative that the person you appoint as an Attorney should be someone you trust to make major decisions on your behalf. You can appoint a friend, relative, or professional to act as your Attorney – providing they are over the age of 18 and have the required mental capacity.
An EPA covers property and financial affairs only. The EPA will only come into effect if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. At this point, your appointed Attorney(s) will be able to make decisions concerning your property and financial affairs only.
It allows your Attorney(s) to manage your finances on your behalf. This can include paying bills; birthday presents or ongoing household expenses.
Preparing an EPA while you are fit and healthy will give you the peace of mind that – if something were to happen in the future – the documents already exist and will allow a person(s) of your choosing to act on your behalf.
In the unfortunate event that you lose capacity and do not have an EPA in place, then an application will need to be made to the Office of Care and Protection to appoint a Controller to cover the role that an Attorney would have carried out for you. Making this application is a costly lengthy and complicated process whereas registering an EPA is much quicker and cheaper.