Enduring Powers of Attorney
There is always a possibility that in the future you may become incapable of managing your affairs whether through illness or an accident. An Enduring Power of Attorney is a simple document which allows you to choose a person you trust to manage your financial affairs in the event you should become mentally incapable of managing them yourself. An Enduring Power of Attorney can only be validly made when you are still capable. It is important to note that an Enduring Power of Attorney is only valid in respect of managing your financial affairs. Your Attorney will not have the authority to make medical decisions regarding your care.
If you are wishing to make an Enduring Power of Attorney you should consider the following:-
- Who Should I Appoint as an Attorney?
- Why Should I Make an Enduring Power Attorney?
- Does it Operate from the Date I sign?
- What Powers will my Attorney Have?
- What Happens if I Don’t Make an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Making an Enduring Power of Attorney is simple. Ask us to send you our free Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney Information Pack.
Who Should I Appoint?
You can appoint your husband, wife, partner, son, daughter, a relative, a friend, your solicitor or anyone else you choose. You can choose more than one attorney.
If you chose to appoint one of the partners of Wilson Nesbitt to act as your attorney this will not cost any additional fees now. In the event you become mentally incapable in the future fees would then be chargeable for the time and responsibility of acting. The Law Society of Northern Ireland and the High Court strictly regulate what solicitors are allowed to charge.
Your attorneys have to sign your Enduring Power of Attorney whilst you are still capable otherwise it will not be valid. Once you have signed your Enduring Power of Attorney we will arrange to have your attorneys sign it as soon as possible thereafter.
Why Should I Make an Enduring Power Attorney?
Perhaps only 10% of the population become senile in old age but it could be you. Whilst the chances are your Enduring Power of Attorney may never be needed signing an Enduring Power of Attorney now will ensure your loved ones will be spared the additional time and costly expense of a High Court Controllership when they are already distressed due to your incapacity. An Enduring Power of Attorney will give you the peace of mind of knowing you have a signed a document allowing your loved ones to assist you with your financial affairs when you are unable to. You will have solved a problem for them.
Does an Enduring Power of Attorney Operate from the Date I sign?
Most people want to manage their own financial affairs and maintain their independence so an Enduring Power of Attorney can be restricted to make sure it cannot be used until you are becoming or have become mentally incapable. If you become mentally incapable your Enduring Power of Attorney has to be registered with the Office of Care and Protection a division of the High Court in Northern Ireland. You and your next of kin will be informed of the existence and proposed activation of your Enduring Power of Attorney. Most Enduring Power of Attorney’s are made on a restricted basis as very few people wish to hand over control of their financial affairs until they are incapable. A period of 35 days is allowed for anyone who wishes to make an objection and then the Court stamps and returns your Enduring Power of Attorney ready for use. There is no further Court involvement except in the unusual event of an allegation of fraud being brought against your attorney.
Alternatively the Enduring Power of Attorney can operate as an ordinary power of attorney when signed if such a restriction is not inserted. You may consider this if you would like a loved one to assist you now with the management of your financial affairs. An unrestricted Enduring Power of Attorney does not require registration with the Court unless you become mentally incapable.
What Powers will my Attorney Have?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a very powerful document giving someone complete control over your affairs so you should choose your Attorney wisely. Your attorneys can sell your home, sell your shares, make investments for you and make gifts on your behalf. Your Attorney can do anything with your assets you would otherwise be able to do yourself. You can appoint a number of attorneys to act jointly. It is common to appoint both your spouse or partner and an adult child. If a solicitor is appointed he or she has a professional obligation to ensure your assets are preserved and used for your benefit. This includes ensuring that your finances are used to provide you with the best care possible. They will ensure that ultimately on your death whatever remains has been kept separate and is still available for the beneficiaries of your Will.
What Happens if I Don’t Make an Enduring Power of Attorney?
In the event you become incapable of managing your financial affairs, through accident or illness such as senility, and you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney your assets are frozen and cannot be accessed until an application for a controllership is made through the Office of Care and Protection a division of the High Court in Northern Ireland. Your next of kin would have to instruct Solicitors to lodge this High Court application and your next of kin would be then appointed as Controller of your affairs. Controllers need the approval of the Court in respect of all actions they take and the Court charges an annual fee which is a percentage of the value of your assets for monitoring the activities of Controllers.
A Controllership is a costly and lengthy Court process which can be avoided through making an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Gilbert Nesbitt & Lenore Rice
Gilbert and Lenore are senior partners of Wilson Nesbitt, solicitors. Gilbert has been a solicitor since 1978 and a partner in the firm since 1982. Gilbert has been a member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners since shortly after it’s foundation in the 1990s. Lenore has been a solicitor since 2009, a partner in Wilson Nesbitt since 2012 and a member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners for the last ten years. They share responsibility for the tax, trust, wills and estate administration department of Wilson Nesbitt assisted by six specialists. Either Gilbert or Lenore are happy to have a phone or video call or meet clients face to face (behind Perspex screens) to discuss Inheritance Tax, complex Will planning or other matters in either our Belfast or Bangor offices.
Take the next step and call us on freephone number 0800 840 9293 or email Wills@Wilson-nesbitt.co.uk to request a free postal Wills & Enduring Powers of Attorney information pack on how you can use our postal service at little cost to make your Wills, make your Enduring Power of Attorney, gift transfer your property or arrange a phone or video call or face to face (behind Perspex screens) consultation with one of our solicitors on making your Will, Inheritance Tax planning, gifting or other tax planning matters.