Unfortunately, a time may come when you need somebody to make important decisions for you, whether they are financial or health-related. The establishment of a Power of Attorney (PoA) is another thing that allows you to be properly prepared for retirement. In other terms, you will spend your retirement in peace knowing that all of your affairs are being looked after.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows someone else to handle your property and assets. Those named are known as your attorneys. However, your attorney’s jurisdiction applies only to property and relations, and does not apply to decisions related to health care.
Do I have to be mentally incapable when Enduring Power of Attorney?
The Enduring Power of Attorney can indeed be restricted to use only in circumstances of your mental incapability. However, in your continuing Power of Attorney – you might wish to have a degree of flexibility. For example, you can reach a stage in life where you no longer have the strength or appetite to handle your property and affairs while not mentally unable as such. It could be that you want your attorneys to act for you at that time. Your Enduring Power of Attorney should be drafted in order to be fully reflective of your wishes.
Can I restrict the authority of my attorneys?
Yes – you can provide your attorneys with either a general authority over all of your property and affairs or you can restrict the scope of their authority.
Do I need more than one attorney?
Usually, most people appoint two attorneys, which allows one attorney to have the possibility of something happening which prevents that attorney from acting. In these situations it is necessary to note that attorneys will preferably be able to behave “collectively and severally” This means that whether they’re more realistic or convenient they can work either together or independently.
Do the attorneys then have a significant authority?
Attorneys should be carefully selected. However, they must behave with due care and consideration in your best interests and are eventually accountable to the Office of Care and Protection in the High Court in Belfast. The attorneys do not need to be professional, and family members or associates may be trusted.
Can I still set up Enduring Power of Attorney during Covid-19?
As legal documents go, the Enduring Power of Attorney is straightforward in terms of structure and content and instructions can be taken from you over the telephone. Once discussed over the telephone, the document can then be written and submitted to you by email for approval or for further discussion.
If the contract is accepted, you and the attorneys will of course need to sign it. That is also something that can be done during this uncertain time with social distancing in place. Just make sure you are careful in the signing and witnessing process.
If you have any queries about Enduring Powers of Attorney, or wish to discuss an existing Enduring Powers of Attorney with a member of our team, please contact us.