An enduring power of attorney in English law, otherwise known as a power of attorney, is a formal legal authorization to act on behalf of another person in financial and legal matters that will continue in effect even after the principal agent or attorney loses his or her capacity to do so. Such documents are often used in various situations like real estate transactions, wills, trusts, and so on. The term “power” in such documents does not refer to actual physical strength but rather the capacity to carry out specific duties. An attorney does not become qualified to practice law until he has acquired the powers of a judge or attorney. He must be of good moral character to be eligible for the powers of attorney.
Power of attorneys play an important role in setting up joint ventures, businesses and also in the management of money. They help business people manage their financial affairs better. For example, a real estate agent may act on the behalf of a principal agent in the purchase of a property and later be allowed to manage the property. If the principal dies before accomplishing the deal, the agent can then become the sole owner of the property. Otherwise, the enduring power of attorney would cease to have effect.
The most common use of this enduring power of attorney document is in the management of money. Most of us are indeed aware of situations when one wants to appoint an organisation to manage his or her finances or a driver to drive the car when he or she is incapacitated. Indeed, there are situations where the principal wants his or her closest friends to make decisions on his or her behalf while he is away from the scene. He or she may appoint family members as his personal representative or a friend to coordinate all his or her requests. Such people need to understand that appointing an attorney to perform these tasks is not equivalent to having the capacity to decide or make decisions on one’s own.
Another situation that warrants the use of this legal document is when an elderly person requires the help of another to take care of his or her financial affairs. For instance, if a disabled retiree lives alone and needs another to make financial decisions for him or her, he or she would require a Will. This will clearly indicate that the principal has the authority to make decisions on his or her behalf and appoint another person to do the same.
It is not necessary that the person who is being appointed is his or her son or daughter; in fact, this power to appoint may also be exercised by a close relative or a member of the family. In this case, the Will should be drafted in such a way that it specifically provides for the designated individual to take care of the principal’s financial affairs.