WILLS AND ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
All adults of sound disposing mind should make their will and indeed execute an enduring power of attorney. Making your Will is not something that should be done at the last minute or only by elderly people. It is something that should be thought about and planned for and should be considered by all age groups. It is also a fallacy to think that because a person does not have significant asset wealth, somehow a will is less necessary. A will is relevant to every person who has responsibilities as well as assets. Making a Will is especially important for couples with young children.
You should also review your will regularly as your life circumstances change, make a new will in accordance with your current circumstances. Every Budget introduces a new Finance Act, which brings tax changes and you should review your will each year in light of those tax changes.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to choose a specific person or persons to look after your affairs in the event that you lose your mental capacity in the future for any reason.
If a person loses mental capacity and has not executed an EPA, then their assets are effectively frozen. If family members need to realise assets to finance care etc. then a ward of court application may have to made which is a drawn out and costly affair.
The EPA has to be signed by the Donor (the person making the EPA) and the Attorney or attornies (the person or persons who is being appointed to act if the Donor become mentally incapable). The Donor’s doctor also has to certify on the document that ther Donor has mental capacity at the time the EPA is executed and the Donor’s solicitor has to execute the EPA also to confirm that the EPA has been explained fully and that the Donor understands it. Best practice is that all parties sign the EPA on the same day.
Notice of execution of the EPA has to be served on two parties
The EPA only comes into effect when it is registered with the Registrar of the Wards of Court. Registration will only take place when the Donor’s doctor has certified that the Donor no longer has mental capacity.