What is enduring power of attorney (EPA)?
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document by which you (the donor) can give another person (the attorney) the power to make personal decisions on your behalf only in the event that you become unable to make personal decisions at some point in the future.
An EPA comes into effect only when it is proven that you lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions and the appointed attorney has completed the registration process. An Enduring Power of Attorney is different from power of attorney which can operate while you have mental capacity but you may wish to appoint somebody temporarily to take certain decisions on your behalf, for example if you are absent from the country for a period of time.
When agreeing the terms of an EPA you can grant the attorney either specific powers or a general authority to act on your behalf in relation to financial and business affairs and also personal care. Personal care decisions may include where and with whom you should live, what training and rehabilitation you should receive, your dress and diet and the inspection of your personal papers. At present an EPA does not authorise the attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf. However, the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 proposes to expand these powers to include health care matters.
You can decide what powers you wish to grant to the attorney. You can decide to place restrictions or conditions on these powers. For example, you can stipulate that the attorney may not sell your house or dispose of certain assets, or you may instruct the attorney to consult with other named parities when making decisions that relate to your personal welfare.