I. What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Birth, aging, sickness and death are said to be inevitable elements of life. The inevitability of these events explains why many of us would want to plan ahead for the various aspects involved, for example financially, psychologically and of course, legally.
But how many of us have made good preparation for the limbo between aging and death: dementia? With an increasing awareness of dementia and its potential impact on society and on the family members of the patient, it is the right time for the public to get acquainted with the concept of an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).
So, what exactly is an EPA? Many of us have probably come across the phrase Power of Attorney. The words “power of attorney” speak for themselves: you give your power to act to your attorney, so that your attorney can do something on your behalf. But “enduring power of attorney” does not simply mean that such power is going to “endure”, or last, for a longer time. An EPA is actually something completely different.
To put it simply, an EPA is a legal document that allows a person who wishes to give his/her power of attorney to someone to appoint one or more attorney(s) to take care of his/her financial matters in the event that he/she subsequently becomes mentally incapacitated, and do so while he/she is still mentally capable. The person who wishes to establish the EPA and give his/her power of attorney to someone is referred to as the donor. Unlike a normal power of attorney that will cease to have effect as soon as its donor becomes mentally incapacitated, the EPA will continue to be in effect.