An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document which enables you to appoint a person (or persons), known as your attorney, to make decisions for you if in the future you no longer have mental capacity to make those decisions for yourself.
Everyone should consider having an EPA irrespective of their age or health but it is important if someone is in ill-health or aging. It is particularly important for anyone diagnosed with early stage dementia. A key decision when making an EPA is the choice of attorney. If you have made an EPA, it is important to periodically review your choice of attorney in light of your own and your attorney’s current and likely future circumstances.
The choice of attorney is very important because EPA’s give extensive powers to your attorney to deal with your property, financial affairs and/or personal care.
The decision of who you want as your attorney may seem a daunting one to make however it is vital to make this decision whilst you are able to make the choice. If you lose your mental capacity and have failed to choose your attorney and have not made an EPA, then you may be have to be made a Ward of Court, which is much more cumbersome and expensive than making an EPA. It is vital when choosing your attorney that you choose a trustworthy and responsible person (or persons) who will look after your best interest.
A good idea is to play out in your mind how your attorney might practically manage your affairs, or react in different scenarios. Often when people do this they find that what they thought would be the obvious choice may not be the right choice after all.
In the future should if become necessary, the future attorney makes an application for registration of the EPA to the Registrar of Wards of Court, once there is reason to believe that you are or are becoming mentally incapable. The attorney must have a medical certificate confirming that you are incapable of managing your affairs. Five weeks before making this application, the attorney must notify you and the notice parties of his/her intention to do so.