How to make an Enduring power of attorney in Northern Ireland
Read information to help if you are making an Enduring power of attorney (EPA) in Northern Ireland.
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Northern Ireland: Enduring power of attorney
To make an Enduring power of attorney (EPA) you will need to complete a form. This will be available from a solicitor or a stationer specialising in legal documents. It’s important to ensure that an up-to-date form is used and that it is completed correctly, or it won’t be valid.
If you are considering making an EPA, it’s a good idea to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor. You don’t have to do this, but it can be difficult to make an EPA on your own, and a solicitor can help you with filling out the form.
Once you have completed the EPA form, it must be signed by you and witnessed. It must then be signed by the attorney(s) and witnessed. Attorney(s) can’t act as witnesses for each other’s signatures or yours, and you can’t act as a witness for theirs.
You must have the mental capacity to make an EPA at the time you make it. The attorney(s) must sign the form before you lose that capacity. It’s a good idea for them to sign it as soon as possible after you’ve signed it.
If the original EPA is kept by an attorney, solicitor or bank, you should keep a copy for yourself. Your solicitor can provide certified copies. These might be needed as evidence that the EPA exists, for example by your bank or a utility company.
What happens after making an Enduring power of attorney?
You don’t register your EPA with the OCP as soon as you’ve made it. Your attorneys must apply to register it when you no longer have the capacity to manage your property and finances.
They should first notify you and certain close relatives that they intend to do so. This must be done using an EP1 form. The OCP or your solicitor can explain which relatives need to be informed.
An application to register must then immediately be made to the OCP. This must be done using an EP2 form, accompanied by the original EPA document and the registration fee. EP1 and EP2 forms are available from legal stationers or from the OCP (see Other resources).
There is a fee for registering the EPA. Details of the current fee are available from the OCP. However, your attorney can apply for a reduction if paying this fee is likely to be difficult for you. The fee will normally be waived if:
- you are receiving certain means-tested benefits
- your care home fees are being paid by the health and social care trust, or
- your house is your only asset.
The OCP will hold the papers for 35 days from the date that the last EP1 was sent. This gives you and your relatives time to make any objections. The OCP can also make whatever enquiries it thinks are necessary. If there are no problems, the EPA will be registered.
While the EPA is being registered, your attorney can use your finances on your behalf to pay for essentials, such as food or bills. But they are not able to arrange larger transactions, such as the sale of your house, until the EPA has been registered. Once the EPA has been registered, your attorney can make decisions on your behalf about your property and finances.
The OCP can ask attorneys to produce accounts for them to check. But this usually only happens if there’s been a query or complaint about the way the EPA is being handled. There is a charge for checking accounts.