Powers of Attorney

Signing documentA power of attorney usually takes the form of a document in which the person who wishes to create the Power of Attorney (usually referred to as “The Grantor” by lawyers) grants certain specific rights to another person (referred to as “the Attorney”), which enable that person to do things on behalf of the Grantor which the Grantor could do if the Grantor was present in person. These latter mentioned “things” will include acts like the signing of documents e.g. contracts for the purchase or sale of land which the Grantor is willing to be legally bound by.

Powers of Attorney may be general or specific in nature. If the power is of a general type then in it the grantor will confirm a wide range of rights on the Attorney. If the Power of Attorney is of a specific type then it will be for a more narrow and carefully defined purpose such as to permit the Attorney to buy or sell a specific piece of land on behalf of the Grantor.

A General or Specific Power of Attorney may be a useful legal device for an older person who wishes to be relieved of the burden of certain tasks he or she usually carried out e.g. on behalf of a family business. He or she simply grants power to their chosen Attorney to carry out these specific tasks on their behalf under carefully set out conditions e.g. the duration of the Power of Attorney.

Limitations on Scope of General and Specific Powers of Attorney

Only persons over 18 years of age and of sound mind may by law grant a Power of Attorney. It should also be noted that if the grantor dies or becomes mentally incapacitated then the Power of Attorney ceases to have effect in law.

Enduring Powers of Attorney (“EPA”)

These are a particular type of Power of Attorney that have been permitted by legislation (Enduring Power of Attorney Act 1996). Their purpose is to allow a person to create a Power of Attorney that will continue to be in force, under the law even when the Grantor of the Power of Attorney is suffering from mental incapacity, prior to their death and whether the incapacity is temporary or permanent.

Who should consider making an EPA ?

  • Any person about to undergo a serious medical procedure
  • Any person who is at risk of stroke due to an underlying medical condition
  • Any person who is fearful of the onset of Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease etc
  • Any person who wants to ensure that the right persons make the important decisions relating to their personal care and/or business affairs, if they become mentally incapacitated during their lifetime

If you want to learn more please contact us.