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2 Setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney

Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney is straightforward. You can use the Which? Wills Power of Attorney Selector to help get the right Power of Attorney document for you or your relative. Your relative (the donor) needs to sign the Lasting Power of Attorney forms, but if they want help, you could offer to get the forms and help fill them in. Which? Wills can also advise on the best way to fill them in.

You can also get a Lasting Power of Attorney application form from the Office of the Public Guardian or you can pay a solicitor or will writer to set one up or choose to go down the DIY route.

You can get Enduring Power of Attorney application forms from the Office of Care and Protection.

There is guidance with the forms, so that your relative knows what information is required in each section. Often they will be asked to provide supporting evidence from witnesses (this might be a friend, relative, GP or other health professional), who can confirm that they are still in good mental health and capable of making decisions.

Return the completed forms to the Office of Care and Protection to register the Enduring Power of Attorney together with the fee of £127 payable to the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.

Useful tips when making an Enduring Power of Attorney

1. Your relative can choose more than one person to act as their attorney, but it is important to know of the distinction between joint attorneys, who must always act together, and those who are empowered to act 'jointly and severally'. Being able to act severally means each attorney can use their powers independently. This is especially helpful when attorneys live some distance apart. If the attorneys have joint powers, it also means that online and phone banking may not be possible - for more information, see Using an Enduring Power of Attorney.

2. If your relative is on a low income, or in receipt of certain benefits, they might be able to get the fee discounted or waived completely. For more information, see this page on the GOV.UK site.

3. It could up to eight weeks for the authority to register your Enduring Power of Attorney, so it’s best to try to get the forms in before it  is needed.

Get a Will from Which?

If you are involved with helping your relative manage his or her financial affairs, perhaps now is a good time to be thinking of making a will for yourself if you haven’t done so already. Make sure your treasured possessions go to the ones you love – see how we can help at Which? Wills.

4. As you are likely to need several copies of the Enduring Power of Attorney, ask for extra ‘authenticated’ copies when you register it.

Making your own power of attorney

If you are involved with helping your relative make his or her power of attorney, perhaps now is a good time to be thinking of making your own as well. Knowing that such a good piece of later life planning is in place could give peace of mind to both yourself and your chosen attorney(s).