A power of attorney is a legal document where you give another person (known as your Attorney) the power to make decisions and sign legal documents on your behalf. It can be limited to signing one document or it can cover all of your property. You can cancel this power at any time
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that only takes effect when you lose capacity. It must be registered with the High Court by your Attorney. Only then does the Attorney have the power to make decisions and sign legal documents on your behalf. Until then, it has no effect and you can cancel the Enduring Power of Attorney. Talk to your solicitor, who will guide you through the process.
Capacity is the ability to make decisions. It involves understanding the facts and circumstances on which a decision is based, the ability to keep those facts and circumstances in mind and to weigh up those facts when making a decision.
Everyone is presumed to have capacity until proven otherwise. Capacity is affected by illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, and sometimes by a serious injury to the brain.
A person should think about making an Enduring Power of Attorney if they are worried about losing capacity or if they are suffering from an illness that could affect their capacity in the future.
Choosing your Attorney
You are free to chose your Attorney. You may choose a spouse, partner, friend, family member, colleague or other person. You may choose more than one person to act as your Attorney.
How to make an Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney must be completed according to strict legal guidelines. It must be signed by you, then by your Attorney or Attorneys. Your doctor and solicitor must also sign a declaration to say that you have capacity to make an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Start by talking to your solicitor. Your solicitor will be able to guide you through the process.