What if I lose capacity to manage my own affairs?

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) can be set up while you are in good mental health to appoint someone, usually one of your family, to act on your behalf if you become unable, through mental incapacity, to manage your affairs.

This appoints a family member to look after you in the event that you become incapable of managing your own affairs. This can be completely comprehensive power or it can be limited to particular areas.

On the creation of an EPA your doctor and your solicitor must both certify that you have the capacity to sign the enduring power of attorney.

Other family members this also be notified of the creation of the EPA.

An EPA comes into force only when your doctor certifies that you have lost your mental ability to manage your own affairs.

Hopefully it will never need to be used.

If circumstances should deteriorate the enduring power of attorney will be activated. To do this your doctor will have to certify that you have become, or are becoming, unable to manage your affairs. The attorneys and the notice parties will all be notified.

The donor will be given two opportunities to object to the registration of the enduring power of attorney if they wish.


Once the enduring power of attorney has been registered it will be administered by the attorneys who can be required to provide a full set of accounts showing that everything they have done with your assets has been in your best interests.

If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s dementia or have reason to believe that you may be imminently affected by such a condition it is very important that an EPA be put in place before you lose the capacity to set one up.

The consequences of failing to put an EPA in place can be very troublesome as well as expensive. Without one it may not be possible to obtain access to money or property which needs to be used for the benefit of the donor.

Ordinary power of Attorney.

If you are having difficulties in your life managing your affairs and you wish to entrust some or all of the control of your assets to another person and you can prepare an ordinary power of attorney. This could give comprehensive powers to the recipient. It can also be limited deal with certain matters e.g. a particular bank account for nursing home fees etc.

A Power of attorney remains valid only while you have your full mental capacity to manage your affairs. Once you have lost the capacity to manage your affairs the ordinary power of attorney loses its force.