Enduring Power of Attorney: Your Full Guide

As life can be unpredictable, you may want to ensure that your affairs are taken care of should the unexpected happen. An enduring power of attorney (or EPO) allows you to do this by appointing someone to take over responsibility for your financial and legal matters should you become unable to manage them yourself.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about EPOs – what they are, who can create one, how to set it up and much more.

What is an enduring power of attorney?

An enduring power of attorney is a legal document which authorises someone else (known as an ‘attorney’) to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your health care or financial and legal matters, should you become unable to make decisions for yourself.

Your enduring power of attorney will continue after your incapacity and can be used even if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. This means that someone else can take over with the necessary authority when needed.

Who can create an enduring power of attorney?

Anyone aged 18 or above who has capacity (the ability to understand what they are doing) can create an enduring power of attorney. This document must be signed in front of a witness or solicitor in order to be legally binding. You may also need permission from a court if you wish to give your EPO authority over healthcare matters.

What does an enduring power of attorney cover?

An enduring power of attorney can cover a range of financial and legal matters depending on the individual’s wishes. This could include: selling or buying property, making investments, managing banking transactions, dealing with tax returns and other financial affairs and making decisions about healthcare (subject to court permission).

How can I set up an enduring power of attorney?

Before you create an enduring power of attorney there are several steps that need to be taken. Firstly, you must appoint one or more people as your ‘attorneys’ who will take over decision-making powers in relation to your financial and legal matters should you become unable to do so yourself. You must also ensure that these individuals fully understand their duties and obligations and that they understand the scope of authority you are giving them.

Next, you must write an enduring power of attorney document which clearly outlines the duties and powers granted to your attorneys. This document should also specify what your attorneys cannot do such as making decisions about life-sustaining treatments or selling or mortgaging certain property without your prior consent. Your enduring power of attorney must then be signed in front of a witness or solicitor, in order for it to be legally binding.

Finally, if you wish to give your enduring power of attorney authority over healthcare matters, you may need permission from a court before this can come into effect.

Conclusion

If you have any further questions regarding enduring powers of attorney, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a legal professional. We recommend Wilson Browne to learn more.

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