Acting as an attorney for someone is an important commitment and obligation. Read on to check the regulations and responsibilities of enduring power of attorney (EPA).
This guide includes information for anyone acting as EPA attorneys. Check how to register an EPA and the rules for making gifts or ending an attorneyship.
So, what does it mean if someone has appointed you using an enduring power of attorney (EPA)?
In simple terms, it means you can make decisions about their property and finances on their behalf, or you can help them to reach a decision.
Note: The person who appoints an attorney is the 'donor'. Whereas, the 'attorney' is the person appointed to act on behalf of the donor.
Any time you make a decision on behalf of a donor, it must be made according to their best interests. That means you need to follow the Mental Capacity Act 2005 guidance and subsequent code of practice.
In some cases, the donor will have given specific guidance or instructions in the EPA document. You should check it to see how it may affect your responsibilities as someone's attorney (see below).
Attorneys can only use EPAs made and signed before the 1st of October 2007. Since then, donors have had to create a lasting power of attorney (LPA) instead.
Providing the EPA document is legal, and the donor has granted you permission to use it, you can start using the powers of authority at any time. There is a way to check whether the enduring power is legal before using it.
As their attorney, you would be responsible for helping the donor make decisions about their financial affairs. In some cases, your instructions may also give you permission to help them manage other things, such as:
Note: As a rule, only professional attorneys get paid for acting as someone else's attorney. You can find out how attorney payment and expenses work in a different section.
The enduring power of attorney (EPA) form may also list other attorneys. If so, you must check how the donor wants the decisions made. Enduring power of attorney regulations differ when there is more than one attorney listed.
If the donor starts to lose their mental capacity, or has already lost it, you must register the EPA. Registration means they will not be able to make a decision at the time it needs making due to their mental impairment.
Even so, as an attorney you must still try to involve the donor in any decision making. If you need to make any major decisions on their behalf, the outcome must be in their best interests.
Several situations can force the EPA to end. It ends by automatic process if the donor decides to cancel it or they die. The 'agent' may also decide to stop being an attorney by choice (see below).
Note: If someone has a complaint against you they can report a concern about an attorney to the OPG. The Office of the Public Guardian can then investigate the matter and apply to the Court of Protection to have you removed.
There are three basic steps to follow if you intend to register an enduring power of attorney in England. Find out how to apply, the fees, and how long registration takes.
You cannot use an enduring power of attorney (EPA) unless it was made using the correct process. But, there is a way to check if an enduring power is legal - or not.
The main duties of enduring power of attorney are managing the donor's finances and dealing with their property. Check your role if there is more than one attorney and how payment and expenses work.
There are certain situations whereby you must stop acting as an attorney (EPA) for the donor. Check what to do if the donor dies and the legal process to stop being an attorney.
Using an EPA means an attorney is able to make decisions about your property and financial affairs. Find out how to use, register, or cancel an enduring power of attorney (EPA).
Enduring Power of Attorney Responsibilities and Regulations in the United Kingdom