Enduring Power of Attorney

In Northern Ireland, an enduring power of attorney (EPA) is a legal document that allows an individual, known as the donor, to appoint someone they trust, referred to as the attorney, to make decisions on their behalf if they become mentally or physically incapable of managing their own affairs. The functions of an enduring power of attorney in Northern Ireland are as follows:

  1. Decision-Making Authority: The enduring power of attorney grants the attorney the authority to make decisions on behalf of the donor, including financial, property, and personal welfare matters. This can include managing bank accounts, paying bills, dealing with investments, and making healthcare decisions.
  2. Financial Management: The attorney has the responsibility to manage the donor's financial affairs, such as buying or selling property, managing investments, and handling day-to-day financial transactions. They must act in the best interests of the donor, keeping accurate records and ensuring that the donor's financial resources are used appropriately.
  3. Personal Welfare: The attorney may also have the power to make decisions regarding the donor's personal welfare. This can include choices related to medical treatment, living arrangements, and social activities. The attorney should consider the donor's previously expressed wishes, values, and beliefs while making these decisions.
  4. Duty of Care: The enduring power of attorney establishes a legal duty of care on the attorney. They must act diligently, honestly, and in the best interests of the donor. They should make decisions that promote the donor's welfare and respect their autonomy as much as possible, while considering any instructions or preferences expressed in the EPA.
  5. Record-Keeping and Reporting: The attorney is required to keep accurate records of all financial transactions and decisions made on behalf of the donor. They may need to provide periodic reports to the Office of Care and Protection, an authority overseeing the management of enduring powers of attorney, as well as to other relevant parties, if required.

It's important to note that an enduring power of attorney in Northern Ireland must be registered with the Office of Care and Protection while the donor still has mental capacity. Once registered, it remains valid even if the donor later becomes mentally incapable. It is a powerful legal document that allows for the smooth management of the donor's affairs while ensuring the donor's best interests are protected.