This article contains information on creating an enduring power of attorney in Northern Ireland. You can no longer create enduring powers of attorney in England & Wales under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. If you need a power of attorney for England & Wales, we recommend you read our article on.
An enduring power of attorney gives another person the power to manage financial affairs on your behalf. This can include such things as (subject to any restrictions you make) paying bills, selling property and managing bank accounts.
If you become incapable of making financial decisions and lose the ability to manage your own affairs, this type of power of attorney 'endures' and continues in force until death, but subject to certain important conditions and safeguards. By planning ahead and making an EPA, you are able to give your instructions whilst you are of sound mind, in anticipation of the possibility of not being capable at some future date.
The person who makes an enduring power of attorney to give another person (the 'attorney') the power to manage their financial affairs is called a donor. Anyone can be a donor in an EPA as long as they are 18 or over and are mentally capable.
Anyone who is willing to act as your attorney can be an attorney in your EPA, as long as they are over the age of 18 and are not bankrupt when they sign the document. They don't have to be resident in Northern Ireland. However, if you choose an attorney who doesn't live in Northern Ireland, it might create practical problems in administering your affairs.
You can appoint as many attorneys as you would like, however, it won't be practical to have too many. You can also appoint an alternative attorney in case one of your original attorneys is unable to continue acting in their role.
If you have not made any restrictions in your EPA, your attorneys will be able to act on your behalf in financial matters as soon as you sign the document. However, you can specify in your EPA that you don't want the power to come into effect until after you have lost mental capacity.
As soon as your attorney believes that you are losing mental capacity, they have a duty to register the document. After your attorney(s) register the EPA, you can no longer revoke or cancel it without the approval of the Office of Care and Protection.
You can revoke your EPA at any time whilst you are still mentally capable and the EPA has not been registered by your attorney(s) with the Office of Care and Protection. To revoke an EPA, you need to use a 'revocation of an enduring power of attorney' to do so.
The Office of Care and Protection
Royal Courts of Justice