An Enduring Power of Attorney or EPA is a legally binding document by which you can give legal authority to an attorney of your choice to manage your financial affairs, should you ever become unable to do so yourself.
Without an EPA, your loved ones could have difficulty in dealing with matters on your behalf and would need to apply to the court to appoint a receiver. This is a more complex process and can take many weeks to deal with.
Making an Enduring Power of Attorney
By making an EPA, you can be sure that someone will be able to step in on your behalf if you should become unable to make your own decisions. By registering the EPA with the Isle of Man Courts of Justice, your named attorney(s) will be able to pay bills on your behalf and manage your property and financial affairs. The registration will be accompanied by a medical certificate confirming that you are unable to act on your own behalf by way of a safeguard.
Who To Choose As Your Attorney
You can choose between one and four attorneys, who should be aged at least 18, and you can also name a substitute attorney should you wish to. People generally choose either a relative, a trusted friend or a professional to take on this role.
You should be aware that if you choose someone who is of a similar age to you, they may be unable to take on the task if and when the time comes.
Appointing Your Children As Attorneys
It is open to you to appoint your children as attorneys, however you should think this through carefully. The job will need someone who is capable and has good financial understanding and also who has sufficient time to devote to the role. You will also need to be sure that they will act in your best interests.
If you choose to appoint more than one attorney, you can allow them to act individually or require them to act jointly, with all appointed attorneys needed to make any single decision. This can make the process of managing finances difficult and slow at times.
You will also need to consider whether your children get along well enough to act together. Dealing with property and finances on behalf of a parent can be stressful and if they are likely to argue, you may want to consider another option to preserve their relationship as far as possible.
Discussing Your Enduring Power of Attorney With Your Family
Once you have decided whom you would like to act on your behalf in the event that you ever need an attorney, it is a good idea to discuss your decision with your family if you can. This will avoid surprises in the future and give them the opportunity to get used to the idea and raise any concerns they have with you.
By explaining your wishes to them face to face, you will be giving them the best chance of understanding what you want and why.
Future Changes To The Law
The Manx government has proposed to extend the powers that can be given to an attorney to include medical care. A similar law exists in England and Wales, where a Lasting Power of Attorney can be made to cover either property and finances or health and welfare.
At Quinn Legal, we offer a package service, which includes a Will, an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Advance Decision. These are the crucial documents that can give you peace of mind for the future and enable your loved ones to help you as needed and benefit from your assets when the time comes. You can find out more about an Advance Decision here.
We have a client platform to help you put these three important documents in place, or please feel free to call us to discuss your needs and to ask any questions you may have.