Enduring power of attorney

If you are planning ahead, you can make an enduring power of attorney. This arrangement gives authority to a person you know and trust, to act on your behalf should you lose the capacity to make certain decisions in the future. This person is called your ‘attorney', but does not need to be a lawyer. These decisions can be about your personal welfare and property and money matters.

You can say whether your attorney will have authority to act on your behalf regarding all or part of your property and affairs. You can also give your attorney the authority to do specific things regarding your personal welfare.

You can have more than one attorney and can specify if they have to make decisions together, or separately. 

An enduring power of attorney only comes into force if you lose capacity to make certain decisions. If this happens, your attorney must register it with us for the arrangement to take effect.

This is similar to the enduring power of attorney you can currently make under the Powers of Attorney Act 1996. It is different because under the new law, an enduring power of attorney may include healthcare decisions. It is also different because under the new law, we will supervise attorneys and make sure they are doing their job correctly. 

How do I make an enduring power of attorney

An enduring power of attorney must be made in writing and signed by you, your attorney and two witnesses. It must include details of the authority you intend to give your attorney.

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How do I find out if someone has an enduring power of attorney?

We will maintain a register of enduring power of attorneys. Certain people or organisations, like banks, lawyers and doctors, can search the register if they have a good reason to do so. We can also give them a certified copy of an enduring power of attorney.

We will keep a record of anyone who searches the register or requests a copy of an enduring power of attorney.

Objecting to an enduring power of attorney

When your attorney applies to register your enduring power of attorney with us, they must tell certain people, for example, your spouse, civil partner and adult children, and give them a copy of the agreement. Any of those people have five weeks to object to the registration of the agreement. There are specific grounds on which an objection can be made.

When we receive an objection, we will review it. If we believe there are good grounds for the objection, we may ask court to decide if the agreement should be registered.

Monitoring an enduring power of attorney

We will monitor an enduring power of attorney when it has been registered with us. We monitor decisions made by the attorney as part of the arrangement.

The attorney must submit a written report to us every year. Each report must include any details of costs, expenses or money paid to the attorney in relation to their duties.

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Ending an enduring power of attorney

You can end your enduring power of attorney if it has not been registered with us and you have capacity to do so. The enduring power of attorney must be ended in writing and signed by you and two witnesses. It must be accompanied by statements by certain people confirming that you have the capacity to end the arrangement.

An attorney can end an arrangement before it is registered by notifying you that they wish to do so. If it has been registered, the attorney can only end it with the consent of the court.

Changing an enduring power of attorney

You can change your enduring power of attorney if it is not registered and you have capacity to do so. Any changes to the enduring power of attorney must be made in writing and signed by you and two witnesses. It must be accompanied by statements by certain people confirming you have the capacity to change the agreement.

What does it cost?

There will be a fee to register an enduring power of attorney with us. There may also be a fee for the ongoing monitoring of the arrangement by us. Further information about fees will be available closer to commencement of the service.