Under English law, an individual that is not mentally sound should appoint a Power of Attorney to make financial and healthcare decisions on their behalf. These rights do not automatically go to a spouse – they need to be assigned to an ‘Attorney’. Whether from ageing or progressive conditions, it is important to make these decisions while your loved one is able to understand them fully. Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is one legal tool available that should be discussed in full with everyone involved.
What is Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legally-binding document that appoints an individual (known as the ‘Attorney’) and provides the right to manage the financial and property-related affairs of another individual (known as the ‘Donor’). EPAs come into force from the time they have been signed. They only need to be registered with the Office of The Public Guardian once the Donor has lost their mental clarity and the legal tool is required.
As of October 2007, Enduring Power of Attorney was replaced with Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). LPAs were designed to offer comprehensive protection for the Donor and a wider range of options to help support them when needed. Any EPA made before this date remains valid and active, as long as it has been signed by the Donor while they were mentally capable.
What does an enduring power of attorney cover?
With an Enduring Power of Attorney, more than one individual can be assigned the ‘Attorney’ role, if required. This legal agreement only covers financial and property situations. These can include:
- The purchase and sale of property
- Financial investments
- Management of bills
- Decisions around pensions and benefits
- Organisation and payment of repairs to a property
An EPA does not cover health and care requirements, which is one of the main reasons why they were replaced by LPAs. The Donor can choose to limit the Attorney’s power, such as allowing access to day-to-day finances but restricting decisions around the sale of a property. These parameters will need to be laid out while the Donor is mentally capable and can be amended at all times while they remain so.
When there is more than one Attorney
EPAs can be appointed to more than one Attorney. The Donor can decide whether these individuals need to make decisions separately (severally) or together (jointly). Anyone over the age of 18 who is mentally sound and not bankrupt can be chosen but it is highly recommended to work with a solicitor when creating the agreement. This ensures all areas are covered and all restrictions are specified before anything is signed.
At Avante Care & Support, we provide high-quality care and support to over 1,000 individuals and their families. Whether you’re processing a dementia diagnosis or simply want to get your legalities in line in advance, our professional team is here to help. Get in touch today.