Enduring Power of Attorney in Northern Ireland
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document. It allows you to choose other people to make decisions on your behalf about your property and financial affairs.
The web pages in this section are about the ways people can plan ahead if they live in Northern Ireland. We have other information about planning ahead in England and Wales, and in Scotland.
You might want to choose other people to make decsions about things like paying your bills, dealing with the bank or even selling your house.
Having an EPA allows you to plan ahead in case:
- you lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions about your finances and property
- you aren’t physically able to carry out tasks such as visiting your bank.
These changes could happen if you unexpectedly have an accident or you develop a serious illness.
The people chosen to make decisions on your behalf are known as attorneys. You can have more than one attorney.
An example of an Enduring Power of Attorney - Steve's story
My mother Orla created an Enduring Power of Attorney when she updated her will. This meant that when she developed dementia, we were able to pay her bills and manage her finances. We made sure she was cared for at home and her home was kept as she liked it. Because we could do this, my mother was able to die peacefully in her own home, just as she wanted.
Who can make an Enduring Power of Attorney?Back to top
You can only create an EPA if you’re aged 18 or over and have mental capacity.
Who can help you make an Enduring Power of Attorney?Back to top
A solicitor will help guide you through the process of making an EPA. When choosing a solicitor, it’s best to ask a few to give you an estimate of their costs for drawing up an EPA.
If you wish, you can complete your own EPA. The Office of Care and Protection can give you advice on how to do this.
Choosing when your Enduring Power of Attorney becomes effectiveBack to top
When you create an EPA, you share control of your financial affairs and property with your attorney. If you wish, you can state in your EPA that it can only become effective if you lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions. Some people prefer not to do this, because they may still have mental capacity but not be physically able to manage their banking.
The power of your attorneyBack to top
You can restrict the power of your attorney in your EPA. For example, you can stop them selling your house. If you have no restrictions, your attorney has power to act on your behalf over any matters relating to your property, income and finances.
You can find out more about restricting the power of your attorney from a solicitor.
An EPA does not give your attorney power to make any decisions about your personal welfare or medical treatment, or to access your medical records.
Registering an Enduring Power of AttorneyBack to top
Before an EPA can be used, it needs to be registered with the Office of Care and Protection. This will need to be done by your attorney when they believe you’re no longer able to manage your affairs. There is a fee to register an EPA.
Cancelling an Enduring Power of AttorneyBack to top
Occasionally a person may need to cancel their EPA. For example, you may need to do this if your attorney is no longer able to act on your behalf. You can cancel your EPA at any time, providing you still have capacity. A solicitor can help you with this.
You can get more information about EPAs from your solicitor or from the Office of Care and Protection.